Friday, February 29, 2008

Thank God for a New Covenant

Exodus 19:5 Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. I just thought it interesting that God, as He does, initiated this covenant with Israel to prove that there was a need for a New Covenant. The Ten Commandments dont stand a document to uphold so that we attain is set of requirements to make us recognize our need for a Savior and a New Covenant.

Jeremiah 31:33 "This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time," declares the LORD.

"I will put my law in their minds
and write it on their hearts.
I will be their God,
and they will be my people.

Luke 16:13"No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.

Anytime money is mentioned in the Bible, I perk up. Materialism, I must admit, is still something I struggle with. I agree totally with, you cannot serve both God and money. God used circumstances in my life to get my attention 12 years was that painful time in my life that really made me lean on God. I have thanked God many times for that time...and the people involved for acting, according to his will and purpose. I thank Him for the comfort I found in the truths of the Bible and the Godly council i sought out...and actually listened to. That may have been the biggest miracle in this whole thing is me listening to someone.....but God did rattle my foundation.

Over time, God made me really understand more, how to rely on Him than my own ability to make money. God totally provided a way through His people for me to be able to serve at ANC. I continue to be humbled as people still, send a card, with support and notes of encouragement. God continues to impress on the hearts of others to remember us, although we are out of sight for most of the folks that DO support us. My provision it totally of the Lord. My ability to do anything to make money is, at this point, in God's it always has been...I just never realized it.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

The Last Place I Looked

Exodus 18 is apparently a great study in leadership and delegation. Moses, while in the midst didnt realize the burden he'd saddled himself with. It took a fresh perspective, from someone that Moses obviously respected, for Moses to see, that indeed, he was being consumed by menial decisions and rulings when, he could share that burden with other men he knew could rule and direct as he would (in God's will).

Luke 15:7I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.

Okay, so I have a few things I always carry with me; my iPhone, my Mac and this little red notebook I take notes in. It slips in the outside pocket of my Mac case. Two days ago, the little red notebook was lost, I couldnt find it. I searched everywhere...I replayed everywhere I had been, where I had put it (the case) down...was there anything in there of value to anyone? how was I going to remember all the stuff I had written in there.....was there anything in there identifying that someone would call me when they found it? I looked in my truck...under the seats, at Kinko's (called them), my back yard, Austin Java (my second office) everywhere I could imagine. SO there is this range of emotion when something is lost...including dread, fear, despair, anger and I was just frantic....all this in about 30 minutes of not knowing....then I found my notebook....right where I had left it, in the sitting room of my house.....but it was under some papers I was looking at the night before. So that was the last place I looked. No need to go on searching....
JOY! RELIEF! HAPPINESS! ANGER! BUT MUCH REJOICING! .....all because what WAS lost...was now found.
This is why Jesus pursues us.....because we have value to Him, He cares for us, we are the image of Him, He LONGS to be in relationship with us (his bride).....
I hope we always rejoice with Christ when we hear of another soul being redeemed and rescued and found, unlike the brother in the story of the prodigal son.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

In The "Last Season"

Exodus 16:19 Then Moses said to them, "No one is to keep any of it until morning."20 However, some of them paid no attention to Moses; they kept part of it until morning, but it was full of maggots and began to smell.

Against the Lords commands, people tried to save up and "hoard" food.... believing that HE may not provide the next morning the provision that they need. The Lord is right in the middle of teaching what he will instruct Solomon to write later; Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding 6 in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. In their understanding, it makes sense to save a little, it does to me. But when commanded by God not trust Him to provide your daily bread...we should pay attention. What also doesn't make sense in my own understanding, is why the same manna that gets maggots during the week, doesnt get maggots on the Sabbath. Who knows, but if GOd commanded it, you dont have to understand it.

Luke 13: 6Then he told this parable: "A man had a fig tree, planted in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it, but did not find any. 7So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, 'For three years now I've been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven't found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?' 8" 'Sir,' the man replied, 'leave it alone for one more year, and I'll dig around it and fertilize it. 9If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.' "

This was a stern warning to the Jews. They refused to listen to Jesus and his Gospel. Jesus ministry was 3 actual years and the Jews rejected Him. Jesus still went before God, or the man who took care of the vineyard went to the owner of the vineyard on behalf of the Nation (fig tree) and requested another season. We are in that season right now. This warning really goes for all....come to saving knowledge of Jesus (relationship) or there will come a day, you will be cut down, your sins will be counted toward you. We must be diligent in sharing the love of Christ. There is so much negative going on in the world today, the goodness of God when lived out is very very evident. Lets be doer of the the Light of the world.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Preview Service

Last night was amazing....from the spiritual battles that went on, to God glorifying himself in spite of our shortcomings, ANC met for the first time in Akins High School. No one was disappointed in the feel of the Fine Arts Facility, it is so conducive for a great worship experience. And the kids set up, for now is great. As we grow, we will have 'issues' but for now it works great.
Michael and the band were awesome, God's message through Brandon was inspiring and the announcements were captivating.
Please join us as we prepare for our service project around Easter. Be praying for that effort.

Little Flock

13 "In your unfailing love you will lead
the people you have redeemed.

You know what is so amazing about this....I had like a WELL DUH moment on this. Of course God is going to lead, he loves us....he loves us enough to redeem us. Redeeming mankind to himself, he paid the ultimate price, Jesus. God does care for us enough to lead us and want us to do and be apart of amazing things, like walking on water. Last night was a perfect example. You guys have been a large part of this effort, through your prayer and support and encouragement you guys have been a part of a work in me personally. My Yorktown family is always going to be special to me....I was allowed to cut my ministerial teeth there....but what is encouraging me even more now than ever is seeing guys like you, respond to needs, and stepping up YOUR GAME. There is so much to do, and you all have a part. Don't let the world dictate what your week looks like. Let your Kingdom focus dictate what your work week looks like.

32"Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. 33Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. 34For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

I love the term, little flock. It is very endearing. I know Jesus is speaking to the disciples here.....but I can hear him saying it to our churches....little flock, dont worry. This comes right after, "seek first the kingdom of God and His Righteousness, and all thes things will added to as well"....and I feel these verses tie perfectly together this morning. Maybe its because I have seen God's hand and provision in our church, maybe because God's provision is unfolding in my life personally, or maybe I see God caring for people in i pay more attention. And like what vs. 34 is saying....when we are Kingdom focussed, our heart becomes more Kingdom minded.

God, you are awesome and you are good. Thanks for redeeming me for your glory. Thanks for allowing me to serve you and providing for me and my family. I trust you. Amen

Sunday, February 24, 2008

This Feels Like Christmas

I know its weird, I am an adult...but today I feel like a kid, waiting to open presents on Christmas morning.
We have been totally blessed in our first phase (as a core) and now our second phase, as we build a launch team. And today the launch team has been inviting people to come 'check us out' at this Preview Service. Now we get to catch a glimpse of what ANC will be like when we corporately worship in the months and years to come. So I am excited to see how things work, to see how many people are there, to get this behind us to learn some stuff and to start building toward South Austin Cares March 30th.
I have also invited some friends who are in the area, that I haven't seen in years, and I am hoping they are able to make it. Oh yeah, and I have 160 foot snake in my garage, you'll have to ask me about that one.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Be Faithful in Giving to Others

Jenny came up to me after Tate's (our daughters) last basketball game with a check in hand.
Now I have been involved and coached many teams for my son and daughter.....and usually after a season I have a mom or dad hand me a gift card for Academy, or a scratch off ticket, or a thank you card with 20 bucks. I've always appreciated but it's no big deal, its not why I coach.
As I took the check i see that it is for Austin New Church for $500. A mom of one of the girl's I coached, gave it to Jenny and said she really felt impressed by God to help our church. Obviously they are believers, very involved in their church, but just responded as directed, the moment God directed them to. I called her to thank her, and told her that although I was honored, humbled and thing I wasnt, was surprised. God continues to go before us. And what Austin New Church is about is reaching out and loving people.....and that resonates with believers and non-believers alike.
Just as this lady decided to bless ANC....let's be open to God leading with others....

Friday, February 22, 2008

Give it Away

Luke 11:40You foolish people! Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also? 41But give what is inside the dish [j] to the poor, and everything will be clean for you.

Here is another verse for us. Not neglecting what we know.....but also giving what we have. God gave us salvation, knowledge and material things....and we should be giving all of that away. The problem with Pharisees (most church goers today) is that they expect non-Christians to come into church and act like Christians, and are uncomfortable if they don't. Therefore....non-Christians or new struggling believers are forced to masked sins that should be rooted out. Most of us who have been on this 'Journey' for a while, still have sin issues....and we rarely talk about them, we mask them....that is why we are labeled (like Christ did the Pharisees) hypocrites.

Could you imagine if Christian brothers and sisters came together with no masks on....into a safe place, where sin was recognized as a sin, something to be dealt with.... and you weren't labeled but loved. There would be NO NEED to play the game.....there would be a contrite nature to everyone in the fellowship and a genuine need to come clean and seek God's face and turn away to sin no more.

I really hope that ANC is a church, that loves/welcomes unconditionally, gives abundantly and worships whole-heartedly. In that, we also are authentic...and we are known by our love for each other.

Thursday, February 21, 2008


Exodus 13:19 Moses took the bones of Joseph with him because Joseph had made the sons of Israel swear an oath.

13"Woe to you, Korazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes

As a kid i used to love the maps. I would be checking them out as the preacher did ...whatever he did on Sunday (his one day of work). So, as i was checking out today's reading....i thought it only fitting that I be the first ever, in our readings, to post a map of the region on our commentaries (didnt show up on blog....sorry)

Joseph's bones and Jesus Miracles.....both very significant. The bones as a symbol of future promise...and Jesus miracles as a sign of promise fulfilled. How could you not witness Jesus miracles first hand and not be moved to repent? I dont think it was ever said.....but do we find a correlation between Pharaoh and the Jews? Were the Jews hearts hardened, like Pharaohs heart? 

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Aren't we a cute couple?

<<-------nice white teeth

The Perfect Judge

Guys this is Preview Service Week. Be praying for ANC as we prepare. Be praying for the right people to come. If you want you are welcome, or if you know anyone in the Austin area....tell them and ask them to come. (5:00p.m. Akins High School, Fine Arts Facility) I have so much to do the rest of this week....pray God multiply my efforts and increase my time management skills.

Exodus 11
13b; and when I see the blood, I will pass over you.

This such a simplistic thought....but I am just so grateful for the blood of Christ, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the World. God, when He sees Christs blood on us, we have been been washed white as snow. There is no need for death, there is no need for punishment...our debt has been paid....there is NO sin. Gods judgement has already been poured out on the Lamb...and Jesus' blood covering a sign of that.

Luke 9
54When the disciples James and John saw this, they asked, "Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them[c]?"
I dont know...but this sounds more like Peter....or even me. Jesus rebuked these two (james and John) for wanting to see Gods wrath on the Samaritans. How many times are we judge and jury and we dont know the whole story....and even if we do know the whole story, who are we to impose judgement? Don't we trust God's perfect judgement? More times than not...I say no we dont. WE see murderers and are skeptical at their conversion, we see beggars and avoid eye contact, we assume that because we have money or we are a little short.....its not God's money and we withhold our tithe from him. Its a matter of trust. James and John were guilty of getting ahead of head of Jesus...but mostly missing His character. When had Jesus EVER called down fire to destroy anyone? Is that consistent with anything Jesus had EVER done? Jesus was about building relationships and redeeming....not destroying people.
Austin New Church, so far, has done a good job (no arrogance here) in keeping with the character of God. Being His hands and His feet, being relational and less about the "event of church".... we just need to remember HIS character.

God, your love and provision for us, your children is totally amazing. We are called into relationship with you...and that doesnt mean a 'once a week' thing. Let us be reminded that you are the perfect judge...and let us remember your character. Give us a hunger for your word so that we become more familiar with your character. Thank you for the Bible, thanks for Jesus and loving us. Give us opportunities to share what you have done for and in us.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Darkness That Can Be Felt

Exodus 10 21 Then the LORD said to Moses, "Stretch out your hand toward the sky so that darkness will spread over Egypt—darkness that can be felt."

I believe that we've all had darkness in our lives...and I've never read this before or heard it talked about in this story.....but there are some days/seasons in our lives where we encounter darkness that can be felt. IN that darkness God deals with I'm sure he was dealing with the Egyptians and Pharaoh and his officials. theres was a physical darkness, yet what is more profound is a spiritual darkness, where you question your very foundations, the things you hold dear and put your faith and trust in. I was talking to one of the guys last night....who is just in a darkness, and he is finding it hard to experience joy. The darkness, he senses isnt even his own, yet he is fighting to remain a light.

God used my darkest days to form me, to transform my mind and conform my will to HIS.

Luke 7
I want you to see the difference between how Jesus views and the Pharisees view sinners
Jesus saw: a woman who had lived a sinful life in that town
Pharisees saw: what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner

The woman had come to the home of the Pharisee who had invited Jesus, she wasnt in the act of sinning....nor do we know how long it had been since she had lived this lifestyle.....Jesus saw the worship and faith of one who had sinned.....the Pharisees were repulsed by a woman who they felt wasn't on the same plane as them.....that by some action they had or hadnt taken, they were somehow worthy of higher honor than this woman. Yet Jesus corrected them (yet I dont believe they received it) and he told her that her FAITH had saved her.

This is KEY to ANC right now. AS we start to grow and welcome folks into our fellowship and homes....we should be mindful, that no matter what their faith journey has looked like in the past, that we are all equal at the foot of the Master. We need to see sinners (of which I am one) as those purchased by the same blood that redeems us. And even if they arent believers yet...that Jesus' blood is available to them as well.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Mighty to Save

Exodus 9
Part of me wants to think, on his own, Pharaoh would have relented by now..... yet I since a strange connection to Pharaoh. i've heard about people.....not me mind you..... as teens or college students who drank too much.... then found themselves in a predicament (either a nasty nasty hangover, or in some sort of trouble) who cry out to God. A promise....never to drink again (or at least to that extent) I've heard it was heart felt repentance.....yet a week later, as time has passed and the thrust of the initial pain has passed.....there they are again.... singing bad karaoke, with his (or her) arm around some "regular" attendee.

I read, "those that are not bettered by judgement and mercies....commonly become worse" how true is that?....take it to the next level.

God here has hardened Pharaoh's heart to show his might and control over the earth,small animals, insects, health, livestock, man and weather...pretty much over all of his creation....leavig no room for doubt that Moses and Aaron aren't flunky magicians with their parlor tricks, they are actually speaking to and being servants of the creator of the universe......and yet...Pharaoh's heart was hardened. Who here believes that all these signs and plagues are shown NOT to convince Pharaoh.....but to convince the Isrealites. These folks had been enslaved for 400 years.....probably wondering about their God, if he was mighty enough to save them...and there is this man claiming to be chosen by God to lead them out of Egypt...I feel, and i think God felt they just needed some convincing and reassurance.

Luke 6
There is such a great connection between these two passages today. Jesus healed the mans hand in the presence of the Pharisees (also the first 3 letters of Pharaoh...coincidence?...i think NOT!) but anyway.... Jesus is in the business of bringing Glory to the Father. And the healings are more about directing people who have physical and spiritual needs to God through His compassion. Seriously, God could have done anything (plagues?) to show the Pharisees that He was more than a punishing God who cares about the law and following all the rules to the nth degree. He is about love, compassion, mercy....which the Pharisees lacked.

Be my valentine

Tonight, Tate got asked to be a homeless guys valentine. She accepted......
We decided that fighting the dinner crowds and spending $100 on dinner lacked a little luster this year, so we joined the Hatmakers and made Love Bags for the homeless and delivered them last night.
The love bags included, applesauce (spoon), new socks, granola bar, toothbrush, toothpaste, water, and the kids made homemade Valentines and put those in the large gallon plastic that when it was handed to the folks..they saw it.
Some of the guys and girls who accepted the bags were we drove off from one guy we looked see that the first thing he got out of his bag....was the card. Doesn't that say something about peoples greatest need. People need to be loved.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Checkity Check yerself b4 you wreck yerself

Exodus 8
God put a distinction between the Irealites and the Egyptians. God spared the land where Joseph's family had settled to raise their herds.
" 'But on that day I will deal differently with the land of Goshen, where my people live; no swarms of flies will be there, so that you will know that I, the LORD, am in this land.

Just about the time Pharaoh would relent, some sort of relief would come and his heart was hardened so he changed his mind. He continued to try to control the situation, when it was apparent to everyone (including Pharaoh's magicians) that the hand of God was in this. Reminds how dependent we get on God when we are "in the soup" or fall on hard times....yet as we start coming out of it....we kinda forget about God. Its like this old Burt Reynolds movie "The End" where his is suicidal...and swims out in the ocean...only to decide once he is too tired to swim back, that he wants to live. So he prays....God get me back and I'll give you half of everything I own.....and he swims...and the conversation continues....God like I said 30% of everything.....and he gets closer still 10% God...and once he gets to where he can stand....decides he doesnt need God because he could swim back the whole way on his own. Its funny, because even as believers....thats the condition of our heart. We rely on God in the tough times....but are slow to praise and thank and remember him in the good times.

I think it would stink to have your kids...only come to me if they needed something with no snuggle time. My daughter and I have snuggle time....every night after prayers. The absolute best part of my day. If there were times we couldnt interact without some need to be met, I might get a little bitter. But it is in those times God uses them to draw us closer to Him....but he does want the praise...and probably like me, some snuggle time.

Luke 5:32 I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance."

I love this verse....but its harder to live this verse. I talked yesterday about the 'holy huddle', which is a very Pharisee (ical) thing to do. When we realize that among the Pharisees, that there were still none righteous....its very apparent that God extends his grace to sinners....Romans10As it is written: "There is no one righteous, not even one;

And as the theologian Ali G says....."check yerself before you wreck yerself" Im not sure thats in scripture....but its still profound.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

In Due Time

Exodus 7:4 he (Pharaoh) will not listen to you. Then I will lay my hand on Egypt and with mighty acts of judgment I will bring out my divisions, my people the Israelites.

The cool thing here, is God chose to harden Pharaohs heart for His purposes and make it abundantly clear that GOD WILL BRING his people out of Egypt. God didnt say, Then Moses, you will able to, or then Pharaoh will relent, or my people will see and rise up against Pharaoh......but God said I WILL BRING out my division.

I love 1 Peter 5:6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Due time here actually is referring to God's time...God's perfect time, where it glorifies Him the most, and He can make himself known. God, could have immediately made Pharaoh understand, and turn the Isrealites free...but to maximize His glory, he chose His timing. We need to be careful not to get out ahead of the Lord, in what we are doing and he will direct our his timing.

Luke 4 One of the stories I grew up reading and the first thought, the first thing we learned in Sunday School the bible. Jesus knew Scripture....and refuted Satan at every turn with the Word of God. But the verse that jumps off the page this morning is;

6And he (Satan) said to him (Jesus, as he was tempting him the dessert) , "I will give you all their authority and splendor, for it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. 7So if you worship me, it will all be yours." Satan lies....he promises things he cant deliver....he promises big things, that are attractive, luring, worth chasing after, but Satan dangles them, with the promise of "it will all be yours...if you just worship me" and that takes different forms. Today, Satan is fighting for souls....through, chasing the almighty dollar, splitting families, making us busy...and these on the surface are just THE WAY THINGS ARE.....but a soul not won for Christ (as we know) is a soul won for Satan. SO if Satan can just busy us up, or make not being a Christian look better than following Christ, then he has won.
As followers, we may take this for granted.... but the urgency to share the love of Christ is there. Also, we are a fun bunch, i would say.... and we need to involve those who aren't followers into our fun, and not have the "holy huddle".

AND we better know scripture.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

New Brood

13 Now the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron about the Israelites and Pharaoh king of Egypt, and he commanded them to bring the Israelites out of Egypt.
God didn't ask them, he didn't beg them, he didn't hint that this might be a god thing for them to do. God is purposeful, He isn't wishy washy, He doesn't leave any room for doubt or interpretation......He doesnt leave wiggle room, HE commands Moses and Aaron to bring the Isrealites out of Egypt.
So many times we convolute what God has told us and we know to be true and in line with the Character of God. We ask for signs and confirmatons when we know in our hearts what God has told us. Here....God actually speaks and commands Moses and Aaron what to do. Why does Moses believe his 'faltering lips' factor into the equation at all. Why do we .... keep coming back to our short-comings when we know God is directing us to do something? God is magnified in our short-comings.

Luke 3
"You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?

Interesting to me, that John used the same terminology that Jesus used, when referring to the Pharisees. John is preaching about the coming of the Messiah.... and I bet these same Pharisees are coming to be baptized as an outward 'act' of righteousness...and John is telling them their hearts arent right. Johns baptizing was a look forward.....toward the one who baptized with the Holy Spirit and with fire. John questions their intent when he asks them....Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Have they heard about the wrath...and are just positioning themselves. Well, its quite apparent by John's lambasting that God isn't interested in our silly notions of doing things in order to attain righteousness.

God, forgive me when my intentions are incorrect. When I become self reliant, or prideful. God thank you that you sent Jesus, your son as an atoning sacrifice for my sins. I declare that HE alone is more than enough. God, be glorified in my short-comings. I hope that you will use that I may hear one day...."well done, good and faithful servant.....enter".

Monday, February 11, 2008

Awe me!

Exodus 5;23 Ever since I went to Pharaoh to speak in your name, he has brought trouble upon this people, and you have not rescued your people at all."

Moses went to Pharaoh... and things didnt go quite as planned. Pharaoh was revered and he considered himself a god...and so did his subjects. Plus he was president of Egypt...a rich and powerful nation. He was having no part of this Yahweh and his desire to let his slaves have a 3 day vacation. Pharaoh had never heard of this Yahweh...... so why would he let the people he was getting to all his work go? So Moses felt as if Pharaoh haadnt taken him seriously, so he then went back to God to complain about that. God is about to do a work on Pharaoh, and in order for there to be no doubt that it was God.

I hate not being taken seriously. I guess with age, or experience or success you gain credibility and people then begin to take you more seriously. I'm sure this was the emotion Moses was feeling. But its not Moses experience or power or age or success that is going to be giving him the credibility....its the power of God working in Moses that is going to get Pharaohs attention. Dont we all believe that Christ working in us, either in ministering to a neighbor or the homeless or a friend is that power. God will use us if we, like Moses, make ourselves available. And we can argue all day about our lack of skills and abilities.....but those are the exact things that God reveals himself in and makes himself known.

Luke 2
The Christmas Story- the most well read account of the birth of Christ. We read this every Christmas with our a matter of fact for the past 5-6 years, our kids have read the passage to us. It is always a treasured event we do on Chirstmas Eve before bedtime and Santa's activities (yes he still pops by the Pruets)
The thing Luke doesnt do in his book is reference Micah 5:2
2 "But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
though you are small among the clans [a] of Judah,
out of you will come for me
one who will be ruler over Israel,
whose origins [b] are from of old,
from ancient times. [c] "

which is the fulfillment of prophesy.

Joseph and Mary must just be in awe of what s going on around them. Jesus is born in a stable, that had to be quite uncomfortable....and now we got shepherds who have been directed by angels to come find them, they then take Jesus to the temple for purification and circumcision and we have this man Simeon who has been directed by the Holy Spirit that he wouldnt die before seeing the Messiah. Mary and Joseph 'marvelled' at what Simeon said about Jesus.....and Anna the prophetess also came to them and gave thanks to God for Jesus.

Even as devout Jews....this must have been quite the experience. We as "Christians" find ourselves involved in church (going, teaching, giving) , speaking the language (chirstian-eze) , doing the things of church (observing the laws).....but to be swept up in the moving of God, to be active in the role God has called us to, to be a servant without an agenda (other than seeing God's will manifest itself in your life) is awesome. Mary and Joseph must have just been in AWE.

God I pray for our lives to mirror that of Mary and just allow you and your Holy Sprit to reign in us and make us instruments of your will. I want to continue to be AWED.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Cut off....... seriously

24 At a lodging place on the way, the LORD met {Moses} [b] and was about to kill him. 25 But Zipporah took a flint knife, cut off her son's foreskin and touched {Moses'} feet with it. [c] "Surely you are a bridegroom of blood to me," she said. 26 So the LORD let him alone. (At that time she said "bridegroom of blood," referring to circumcision.)

God was going to kill Moses. Though the passage doesnt specifically say...and some believe He was going to kill Gershom, all signs point to Moses. As was Jewish law, all Hebrew boys must be circumcised on the 8th day, lest they be 'cut off' from God. Apparently Moses relented or caved to Zipporah in this requirement when Gershom was born. And as God groomed Moses for 80 years for this duty..... Moses had let comfort, or wanting to keep peace with his wife who was a Midianite, and wouldnt follow the Jewish customs or laws, stand in the way of his obligation as a Jewish father. How was Moses fit to lead the Isrealites if he himself hadnt followed all of the laws. So as God was about to kill Moses, Zipporah intervened (reluctantly) Actually you can tell through Zipporah's phrasing that she didnt think too kindly of the Tradition but she wasnt about to stand idly by as God killed her husband. So with the flint she removed the foreskin of her son, to save Moses and threw it at his feet.

God allowed Moses to live because of his wife intervention.

Luke 1 59On the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they were going to name him after his father Zechariah, 60but his mother spoke up and said, "No! He is to be called John."

I felt like this passage or verse validated the seriousness of the violation of Moses in Exodus. Not only was the circumcision observed on the 8th day.... but Johns mom spoke up (because her husband couldnt) and said, "his name will be John".... though it made no sense to anyone, Elizabeth feared the Lord. She had no 'crisis of belief' .... she knew the blessing she had received was from God himself, and she believed the angel.

God, thanks for your provision of Jesus. Be with us as we travel this weekend... I lift up Brandon and Michael to you. Be with Micah as he gets over his sickness. I pray that you protect our staff, our families, and our church this weekend. I pray that many people will come join the movement that you have started at ANC. I pray that as we are doing the groundwork for South Austin Cares... that your name is lifted up.... and you draw South Austin to yourself.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Who am I?

I wonder if when God saw how much Moses cared for 'His People'... even though he went too far in murdering the Egyptian.... God said.... I like his passion. I can use this guy.... or.... if God knew (like when he picked Saul) picking a tarnished vessel is my Modus Operandi, God is still in the using tarnished vessel business.... I am a great example of this.

11 But Moses said to God, "Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?"

I'm sure God was thinking..... EXACTLY! Now go!

Mark 1611When they heard that Jesus was alive and that she had seen him, they did not believe it.

Why? How can these guys been such dim bulbs? They've seen the miracles.... Peter has said, "you are the Christ, son of the One true God", Jesus himself has told them he will be raised on the third the fact that it caught them by surprise, would have been ok....I guess, but when Mary Magdalene told them...they DID NOT BELIEVE IT. I think about our own sin (yes sin) of disbelief, and I get it. If we truly believed....would we have trouble with telling others, would we be so prideful that we would even consider how we looked? Heck, we aren't even persecuted yet we are worried about how we will be treated.

Maybe this is why I am so shocked at the disciples disbelief.... because I call myself a follower (a disciple) yet i suffer from the same thing.

God please forgive our sin of unbelief.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Drawn Out

10 When the child grew older, she took him to Pharaoh's daughter and he became her son. She named him Moses, [a] saying, "I drew him out of the water."

Exodus 2

Funny thing about the name....Pharaoh's daughter drew Moses out...but God would draw him out in a different way.

I watched a video (youtube) of a man last night, who's 2 year old son(Bronner) drowned his swimming pool. The man (Rick Burgess) is a famous radio personality in Alabama and comedian.....I am a fan. This the strength of God, preached one of the best sermons I have ever heard. He was drawn out..... he mentioned in his sermon that had he been given a choice.... to lose his son.... or to eternally impact hundreds...... he would have chosen his son, but God knew that...and in His Grace spared him that decision. But now...having been drawn out......he uses the message with laser accuracy to the thousands in attendance.

I am interested to see the impact this guy guess and based on this sermon..... he becomes a preacher. If you have time and want to watch......Its about 30 minutes in length....but check it out (is the first 10 minutes..there are 2 others)

Mark 15

39And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, heard his cry and[d] saw how he died, he said, "Surely this man was the Son[e] of God!"

Isnt it amazing, that God can and does commonly use tragic events to draw people to him. This enemy of Jesus....was drawn to him. This centurion, a Roman soldier.....picked as one of the Roman elite... was drawn to and recognized that indeed, Jesus was the son of God. Until the moment of salvation for each of us.....we stand as enemies of God, centurions for satan... and by HIS grace we are saved, through faith.

God thank you for calling us. God I pray like Rick Burgess said in his sermon..... we arent one of the 90% of Christians who NEVER tell your story. It is such a great and awesome story.... why wouldnt we tell to anyone around us. Give me boldness, give me passion and much like Moses....give me the words, even though I dont think MY words are that important....I know YOUR words are. Your fame is worth whatever 'uncomfortableness' we have and we just need to GET OVER IT, get over our pride, or fear and just go for it, live a little.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Who's favor do we seek?

8 Then a new king, who did not know about Joseph, came to power in Egypt

worldly powers come and go....but the kingdom of God (word of God) will remain forever. I am just reminded that we really need to be careful who we serve. We need to remain focussed on God. In churches...all over, people are followers of certain pastors. When i was a kid we left a church to follow a pastor locally.....but eventually that pastor left town....and we remained. If we found favor in that pastors was only temporal. Its hard not to love Brandon Hatmaker..... but we at ANC need to's not Brandon's approval we should seek (well maybe I should cuz he is my boss) but the rest shouldnt.

Brandon and I spent the last couple of days with some about 75 local pastors and the experience was very humbling to hear the stories of men who follow God. I by far, was the least tenured guy there....tho there were many younger....I sensed a great commonality between brothers of different backgrounds...and I prayed with Assembly of God, Methodist, Baptist, Pentecostal, Anglican, and I'm sure some others.....but the things we had in common were Jesus, his Grace, the Word and serving God....and that was enough. There is a large movement in the city of Austin to unite and see to it that we do our part to equip Christ followers. Our experience with Austin New Church and its affiliation with not only the Free Methodist, but the Austin Baptist Assoc., and the Hill Country Bible Church is really just the beginning of a larger movement i think. I myself have support from many different people who have different faith backgrounds...and the one thing that we all agree on is Christ and the need to proclaim him to Austin and beyond.

Mark 14 is such a packed chapter. The one thing that jumped out at me this reading was the Lord Supper and it significance. Jesus is literally thinking about his flesh and his own blood that is about to be poured out....and broken as he passes it among the Disciples. Then they sung a hymn.... I was reminded of the sweetness of some of the hymns and the nostalgia that some of them give me these last couple of were moved to tears as we sung hymns without accompaniment and some praise choruses. the Lord does inhabit the praises of his people....I think that it comforted Christ to sing that hymn before he went to the garden, and went to the cross.... so we need to minister to the heart of God more often with our 'joyful noises'

Monday, February 04, 2008

Joseph Reminded the Children

Gen 50- An elaborate funeral, coupled with embalming meant you had found favor in the eyes of Pharaoh. Not only was this observed in the death of Joseph, but in the death of this father. Joseph death at the age of 110, the Egyptians considered to be a blessing, the perfect age to die and one that God would have blessed with the perfect amount of years. Joseph not only found favor in his fathers eyes, Pharaoh's eyes...but also God's eyes.

In verse 50, Joseph was place in a coffin, yet he was never buried in Egypt. History shows that his coffin rested in Egypt, where people could see it, 400 plus years, until the Children of Isreal took him and buried him in the Promised Land. His coffin stood as a reminder for those enslaved over the next 400 years that God would deliver them.

Mark 13
Im just reminded in Mark 13 that as believers, we have little to fear, as believers our house is in order. But we should watch expectantly as the return of our master. This event shouldnt be feared by believers...actually this return will be the end of suffering on earth.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Giving Spirit

Gen 49
Noticed the difference between the blessing given the 11 other sons and then Joseph. Obviously there was a prophetic word for each of his children...and the Lord gave him these words as he was dying. But Isreal spent the most time speaking greatly about his favored son....Joseph.
Jacob repeated his wishes about being buried, go back a couple of chapters to the bare thigh promise and know that Jacob was serious about his burial wishes.
Mark 1243Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. 44They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on."
I am always amazed at the generous spirit of those who know the Lord. Having been a position of raising my own support for Austin New Church...i have been blown away at some folks generosity. THe ones that stand out, are the folks who just blew me away when the blessed us beyond what I believed them capable. (usually that means beyond what I would consider, in their position) and this is the picture we see with the woman who 'gave it all'.
I pray that as ANC grows, that we become increasingly giving.... relying on God to be our provider. I pray that I become more generous, more giving of myself.

Boy this has been a rough week. Just a lot of work. If anyone reads this, please be praying for Austin New Church. There are so many details that we are in the middle of right now and timing and organization is critical. Pray for me, to gain knowledge of my job and an understanding and clarity in forming the structure.