Archive | January, 2013

What on earth am I here for?

31 Jan

what on earth (2)

I am so excited that we are doing this current series “What on earth am I here for?” (a.k.a. Purpose Driven Life). The author Rick Warren has such a simple but profound way of communicating the truth that God has made us for a divine purpose and that purpose can be found.

I ran across this quote from the book today and was so inspired by its implications.

“When anything in creation fulfills its purpose, it brings glory to God.”

This brings me hope.

This broadens the definition of worship for us.

This gives me joy that I can actually bring God pleasure.

This gives me purpose in my day-to-day life.

This makes me fearless.

This makes me passionate about fulfilling God’s purpose for my life and helping others do the same.

You and I need to take this series and this season seriously, because it could be a turning point in all of our lives!

If you are not involved in a small group during this series, come and find an open group on Sunday nights at either campus. You won’t regret it.

Like Paul says in Philippians 3:12, I anxiously await the day when I will become all that Jesus saved me for and called me to be, so that I can bring Him more glory!
-Aubrey

Direction

24 Jan

Compass

 

I have been fascinated with compasses and maps since I was a kid. I remember getting a backpack that came with a small compass on it and I would imagine myself trekking through the wilderness navigating with it right there on my shoulder strap. Even to this day, I get so excited when my National Geographic magazine comes in the mail with its full color fold out maps of the world or some remote Pacific island. Both compasses and maps are tools by which we determine our direction. They provide information that helps us avoid going down the wrong path.

For years I have struggled with direction in my own personal prayer life. I have tried a myriad of different exercises and hacks, but rarely has anything stuck for more than a few months. It’s a constant battle in my spiritual journey. The wilderness of distractions and things consuming my time is thick around me. I need a map. I need a compass to help me navigate this challenge and thankfully I have one. You have one too.

When it comes to prayer, scripture is full of them. And when I feel like I don’t know what to say to God or how to say it, I turn to the Word to help me express my heart. Inevitably it begins to turn my heart in the right direction and I start to see the path again. The ancient prayers of men and women from the Bible seem to reach into my soul. They open my eyes to see the trail again and set my heart in the right direction.

I came across one such prayer the other day while I was reading in Ephesians. As a pastor even there are times when I don’t know how to pray for our people and I get caught up in generic “Lord help them.” prayers. I want to talk to God in an authentic language flowing from my heart of love for those I am serving, but many times I am at a loss for words (but not in a good “awestruck” way). That’s why this scripture leapt off the page at me. In it Paul tells the believers in Ephesus how he is praying this for them. Take a few minutes today and dig into this prayer. Let the depth of what Paul is praying for these believers be the cry of your heart and mine for those we lead in worship, teach, or serve in any way as leaders in the body of Christ! I couldn’t think of a better prayer to pray right now and it starts with this, “That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him…” Keep digging, keep praying and find direction in your prayers. Find your way out of the wilderness of distraction into the wide open fields of the heart of God and communion with Him.

Ephesians 1:15-23

5 For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, 16 I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, 18 having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might 20 that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.22 And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.
-Aubrey

Is He Enough?

17 Jan
“Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God,  who has made us sufficient to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
2 Corinthians 3:5 (ESV)

Is He Enough?  

For a Christian, of course our response should be “YES!”  But before we jump to that response, consider the question fully.  Is He enough?  The truth is that we are prone to say that He is sufficient while living lives that are deeply dependent on other things instead of Him.  It is so subtle, it happens so slowly, and it is a constant battle for every follower of Christ.  There are three questions that I have asked myself that have helped me answer this question and that have given me a spiritual “gut check.”
1) Do I value my security over my calling?
This is incredibly difficult for most people who live in a culture blessed with financial security.  Although financial security is NOT evil, our reliance on it and worship of it is.  What would I do for God’s kingdom if I weren’t bound by my need to be secure?  I am amazed as I read the stories of the men and women who have come before me who have given everything to serve God.  My heart is that I pursue my calling over my security because my ultimate security is in Him alone.
2) Do I think that my effectiveness in ministry is nothing more than a result of my ability or skill?
God equips his children to do what He calls them to do.  My gifts and abilities are given to me by God to use for Him, BUT my usefulness is not limited to my natural abilities.  God is supernaturally at work in the world, and He works supernaturally through us as we trust Him.  If you continually feel as though you are not “good enough” to serve Him, find confidence in the fact that He is enough.  He is sufficient.  He uses the willing, not the worthy.
3) Am I deeply fearful of the unknown?
It is completely natural to feel uneasy about the unknown or the future.  However when unease grows to become crippling fear, we are no longer trusting that He is enough. If you are standing on the edge of the unknown and afraid to take the next step, find confidence in the fact that He is enough.  He is sufficient.  Even my unknown is known by Him.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
2 Corinthians 2:19 (ESV)
-Justin Evans

Eliminate the Worthless

10 Jan

New Year

 

Entering 2013 we are living in an amazing world. Even amidst all of the stress of the fiscal cliff and a pending miscalculation of the Mayan calendar, you still woke up this morning breathing and your heart is beating. There are also about 7 billion other people doing the same thing, being sustained by creation and its Creator. There is more information and technology at our fingertips than ever before and it will increase exponentially by the end of this year. We are surrounded by all the natural beauty, awe-inspiring architecture and stunning masterpieces the world has to offer. Then there is the miracle of birth that will happen minute after minute thousands upon thousands of times in the coming 365 days. There has never been a better time to live in this world. And there is literally no better time for you and me, because it is the only time we have been given. We can’t live in any other time unless of course 2013 finally brings to fruition the invention of a working time machine.

So, here’s the problem. Amidst all of the wonderful things we can experience every day this year, there are literally thousands of worthless things every moment competing for our attention. You can bank on it, there will be more distractions in 2013 than ever before. The battle for a purpose filled life will be won or lost in the daily battle for our attention. Hear me when I say that the success or failure, the glory or the shame, the triumph or the defeat of your 2013 and mine will be wrapped up in how aggressive, tenacious and committed we are to the excommunication of worthless things from our lives.

The distractions, the temptations, the marketers, and the enemy of your soul are smart, cunning, and relentless, but they are not invincible. But Jesus knew this was coming when He said, “Look, I am sending you out as sheep among wolves…” And how does He instruct us to prepare and respond? “So be as shrewd as snakes and harmless as doves.” (Matthew 10:16 NLT) Here are some synonyms for shrewd: intelligent, wise, prudent, clever. In other words, don’t be stupid when you wake up in the morning, but study the tactics of your enemy be ready. This is how you make wise decisions and remain as harmless as doves with your integrity in tact. When we are not wise, we are anything but harmless.

David the psalmist says,

“I will walk with integrity of heart

within my house;

I will not set before my eyes

anything that is worthless.” (Psalm 101:2-3)

 

I am not about to make a list of worthless things in your life because the worth of things is relative. Sure everyone’s scapegoat, Facebook, can be worthless, but it doesn’t have to be. I don’t know what is worthless for you, but worthless things are basically anything that turns your attention away from the eternal, the true, the good, the worthwhile. The best way to combat the victory of the worthless in your life is to know what things are worthwhile?

 

Phillipians 4:8

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

 

So, take out a sheet of paper or open up a document or note and make two lists. What are the worthless things infiltrating my life and what are the worthwhile things being pushed to the side.

Set your focus on the worthwhile things. Set your goals on them.

Let this be the year where we relentlessly eliminate the worthless from our lives.

-Aubrey