love and marriage

Tonight we are studying the second portion of Ephesians 5 and the focus is on marriage. It is no exaggeration to say that marriage is under attack in our day, being abandoned, sought to be redefined and repackaged in a way it was never meant to be. I was online a few days ago and a pop-up came up that said “click here for an easy divorce.” I had to know how this could be possible and it went on to purport to be selling an easy, do it yourself, divorce kit for 169 dollars. unbelievable. The reality is, there is no such thing as an easy divorce. Not for the formerly happy couple and not for anyone else involved either.
God has a lot to say about marriage. It was, after all, His idea. But like the game of telephone, you might have played as kids, where a phrase gets confused as it gets further from the source. What started out as “put the cover on the boat” comes out as “I want to punch that goat.” The concept that God originally intended has gotten warped.
The trick is to go back to the beginning and see what it was meant to be in the first place. The Bible is the instruction manual for life on earth and tonight we are going to see what God wants our marriages to look like. I am calling the message Marriage 1.0 because we need to return to the original idea of the institution. Whether you have a great marriage, a rocky marriage or someday want to be married, I hope you’ll check out the message and see what God has to say.


Meet the Guido’s

I have learned from the pastors who I was trained by just how very important the role of a worship leader is to a thriving church. Having someone whose style fits yours is essential. Going back to the days of Billy Graham/George Beverly Shea and D.L. Moody/Ira Sankey it is evident that when the preacher and worship leader are in harmony the result is powerful. What I love about Kevin is that he has a serious passion for everything he does. Apple computers, kona mountain bikes, great graphic design and large quantities of mountain dew and peanut m&m’s, he does nothing small! This is especially evident when it comes to the glory of God. Kevin puts together the music each week after prayerfully reading the verses we will be covering and going over my sermon notes. I love hearing songs that enhance the central theme of that days focus. I am so pleased that God brought Kevin and Alaina from Calvary of Albuquerque to Fresh Life when the church was 25 days old. There are over 30 live recorded worship songs you can listen to at fresh life’s worship page, so check it out.


Volunteer appreciation

Tonight we had a dinner for all the different volunteers that serve in the many ministries at the church.  It was really cool getting everyone together.  It is crazy that a little over a year ago the entire church was literally the size of what now is our volunteer team.  When  in the Old Testament Nehemiah was carrying out the vision that God had given him, rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem, he said that the people had a heart to work.  That perfectly describes the loving body at fresh life.  There are so many people that are not content to sit on the sidelines and watch the action, they are on the front lines serving kids or ushering, or doing media ministry.  It was a lot of fun and we talked about all the exciting things on the horizon this summer and we rejoiced about how much the Lord has done in our midst.  


vision

A guy in our church, named J.D. Carabin, felt the Lord leading him to begin a ministry to skateboarders in the community.  He attended a conference put on in New Mexico that was all about how to minister to skaters.  The Lord has been working through it.  Each week in addition to skateboarding they have a Bible study as well.  One of the local newspapers caught wind of it and wrote an article which you can read here.  Love to see someone get a vision and step out in faith and see what the Lord would do.  Whatever God has called you to do, charge it!


imitation

Ephesians 5:1 Says that we are to imitate God as children. By default kids imitate their parents behavior, for better or for worse. My daughter loves to play with my cell phone. She will send text messages to random people, full of gibberish. Or I’ll catch her playing on my laptop and she’ll say, “typing, dad!” Pretty cute stuff, but far better is the way she likes to copy my wife having her quiet time. After seeing Jennie reading her Bible and taking notes in her journal, Alivia will come out of her room with her story Bible and want to join. Just like her, we are supposed to observe and copy what we see in God. Ephesians 5 goes on to specifically say that we should walk in love, light and wisdom. Which are all things that we are told that God is in scripture. 1 John tells us that God is Love, that He is Light, and Proverbs tells us that God is wisdom. So if you want to be more like God than those are things to put into practice. Of course the best way to become more like someone is to spend time with them. So make sure to carve out time each day to hang out with the Lord. If you have missed any of the studies through the book of Ephesians catch up here.


Spreading the Word

Dr. James Stewart, a Scottish preacher, once said: “The greatest threat to Christianity is not communism, atheism, materialism, or humanism. The greatest threat to Christianity is Christians trying to sneak into heaven incognito without ever sharing their faith, without ever living out the Christian life, without ever becoming involved in the most significant work God is doing on planet earth.” The truth is a non-evangelizing Christian is an oxymoron—it’s not optional. Our God is a missionary God. And He expects His followers to follow suit. Those were His parting instructions to His disciples, Mark 16:15 And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.” This is called the great commission—something so important it is emphasized in all four gospels. But looking at how loosely many adhere to it today, some have tongue in cheek referred to it as the great omission. And I have heard some say I prayed and don’t feel God has called me to missions. But the truth is we never have to pray, “God do you want me to be involved in missions?” He already said, “Go.” The answer is clear! So we don’t need to pray, if we are called to participate, but how. Some are called to go, others to send. If everyone went who would pay and who would pray? But we must all do our part. This Sunday at fresh life, in addition to our study we talked about our missions focus. If you didn’t hear the message you can hear it here. My heart is that exactly what happened at the church at Thessalonica would be true of our church. Paul said in 1 Thes. 1:8 that from them the Word of God has sounded forth, or is ringing out, beginning locally and spreading out globally. We, as a church, are trying to do just that by the power of the Holy Spirit. We are excited to be getting behind the work that Gospel for Asia is doing in the 10/40 Window, the least evangelized part of the world. Many on Sunday decided to sponsor one of GFA’s 16,500 native missionaries who are working to spread the gospel in countries like India, a nation with over 500,000 villages that haven’t yet been reached with the gospel. There were also several who responded to the invitation to receive Christ at the services. It was a great day, and I challenge you to get involved in what God is doing as we wait for His return!


I encourage you to get “expelled”

There is a movie that hits theaters today that I encourage you to see. Ben Stein, who in addition to being an actor, game show host and presidential speech writer, is also a firm believer that God created the heavens and the earth. His film, Expelled, shows how the truth is being suppressed all over the country. I think for students this film will give tools for them to take into their science classes where they are being taught that we are the result of random chance, rather than intelligent design. We should support movies like this that come out, the best way to do so is by voting with our feet. I am taking my youth pastor to see it this afternoon. Here is the website for the film. Here is the trailer for the movie, go check it out.


Anniversary

Today my wife and I have been married for four years.  Solomon said:  He who finds a wife finds a good thing, And obtains favor from the Lord. (Proverbs 18:22)  I can certainly say that God blessed me big time.  Marriage is certainly a gift and makes life, and ministry better.  I feel so complemented by my wife’s gifts and she encourages me in my walk with the Lord.  I look forward to what the Lord has in store for the next four.  


John 17

This Sunday I finished a three part study of John chapter seventeen. This is the real Lord’s prayer! More so than the “Our Father who art in heaven” prayer because that is actually the disciple’s prayer. Jesus never would pray it because it asks for the forgiveness of sin, and He was sinless. I was so blessed and challenged going through it verse by verse. Even though we spent almost a month combing it’s treasures there was so much we didn’t get to study. One resource that was particularly helpful to me as I was teaching through this red letter prayer was a book by my good friend Skip Heitzig on the chapter called, When God Prays. He does a fantastic job bringing what has been called “the Mt. Everest of the scriptures” down to a level that can be easily scaled. If you are wanting to delve further into this prayer I heartily recommend it to you. But as they used to say on Reading Rainbow–don’t take my word for it, find out for yourself. Do you remember that show? Maybe your kids watched it (; Here is a link to grab the book on amazon.

Spring has sprung

After a cold winter 70 feels like 90 time for flip-flops and tee shirts.