Monday, March 31, 2008

Incredible Launch Yesterday!

God continues to exceed our expectations.

Last week me, Brandon and the two wives went to lunch and we just talked about....' I wonder how many people will be there'. I know this isn't very 'spiritual', but we all picked numbers....Brandon picked lowest around 165....the wives were over 200. and I went Price is Right...and picked one higher than the highest bid....and I won! Seriously, ANC launched with around 300 people in attendance last night. We know that's an inflated number, because we had many 'well-wishers' there, but there is one number that isnt inflated..and its the one that matters;

We had 4 people check the card "I decided to follow Christ today"

Thank you guys for your support and your prayers. God is faithful....even when we are faith less. Continue to lift up His church in South Austin.

Lather, Rinse....Repeat?

John 13:9"Then, Lord," Simon Peter replied, "not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!"10Jesus answered, "A person who has had a bath needs only to wash his feet; his whole body is clean.

As believers there is a desire to want more of Christ. There is some significance to the washing of the feet, and not the whole body. Jesus is saying here… your body is clean, in salvation… there is no need to continually be rewashed... but the daily grime of the road….sins in our thought life, things we’ve said, stuff we’ve done, things we’ve harbored in our hearts…. Those are the dust of the day. We do need to clean up from those. I know sin has a residual effect, without continual cleansing….our hearts may become hardened toward sin.

God, I just want to thank you for Your atoning bath you offer. WE don’t need continual baths, because Jesus cleanses us completely.

Friday, March 28, 2008

All the World's a Stage

John 11: 4But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected, 5"Why wasn't this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year's wages.[ 6He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.

Funny thing about this….Obvioulsy John had hindsight when he wrote the letter John….so therefore….all the events of thebetrayal, crucifixion and Judas death, had already happened. John (while writing) really throws Judas under the bus (I guess I might have too).
Judas, not having a heart for the poor, really seemed legalistic and trite. And I love how Jesus rebukes him, 7"Leave her alone," Jesus replied. " It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial. 8You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me."
I know its obvious to Jesus, but is it that obvious to others, when we aren’t walking in the spirit or better yet….those inside church who aren’t saved….’playing church’.
We say we are ‘Christ Followers’, yet so was Judas….he just didn’t submit himself to Christ’s ways. Do we, or are we just playing the part?

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Caiaphas Prophesy

John 11: 49Then one of them, named Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, spoke up, "You know nothing at all! 50You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish."51He did not say this on his own, but as high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the Jewish nation, 52and not only for that nation but also for the scattered children of God, to bring them together and make them one.

Just reading this…and thinking about the political implications of this…… There was a strange balance of power going on here, and Caiaphas, as high priest, felt the weight of it. If the Romans, for any reason felt as though the Jews were starting to follow this Messiah, not as a ‘religious’ figure (the Romans could care less) but as a King in the lineage of David….Jews as a nation would be in danger.

His prophesy was more political than ‘religious’, and although very apparent that his words were God inspired….. I doubt that he knew what his comments would look like post-resurrection.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Good Shepherd

John 10:8All who ever came before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. 9I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved.[a] He will come in and go out, and find pasture.

John isnt speaking of those prophets who came before, pointing toward Jesus, but those who came (immediately) before claiming to be the Messiah. Jesus is the gate. Two thoughts here. Jesus refers to two gates, one is for protection, the shepherd that lays down at the entrance of a cave...keeping the sheep in and protected. This type of gate however, is the one that you must enter enter through to come into the pasture (Kingdom) and find sustenance, rest and peace.

I have always loved the imagery of Christ as the 'good shepherd'. Sheep will follow their shepherd, and no one else. Sheep know their shepherds voice and respond to it. Sheep do this and know this because their shepherd FIRST....knew them, probably were there at their birth, he cares for them, pursued them.....if they wandered off, corrected them and protected them.

God, your rod and your staff comfort me. You make us lie down in green pastures. You lead us by still restore my soul. You are the 'Good Shepherd'.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Jesus Loogies

John 9: 34To this they replied, "You were steeped in sin at birth; how dare you lecture us!" And they threw him out.
How easily we brush off what we dont want to hear. We dismiss it, we ridicule the bringer of the message.
its easier to tear down the messenger than the message.....when that message is Truth.
The blind man HAD been born that way.....blind. His parents attested to that. Yet Jesus who was there at creation rules over it all, he isnt limited to whether a man had never seen or had lost his sight. HE isnt limited to whether someone was sick or dead, Jesus could heal them all. This man wasnt in sin...he merely was born blind so that God could glorify Himself at this particular time.
I wonder how many people walk through life feeling as though they (or someone they know) is cursed....yet it is just an opportunity to be the Glory of God.....if they were to just present themselves.

God you are ruler over all. You can heal, you can humble and you can save. Give us compassion and point people to you. Let us speak your Truth into people. As we get ready to launch, let us not lose this people focus.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Jesus....Bread of Life

In Exodus 35: 13 there was mention of the 'Bread of Presence' it was to be place outside the Holy of Holies. They were twelve loaves symbolic of the twelve tribes but also and more importantly a point toward Christ.
Like we just read in John 6:48I am the bread of life. 49Your forefathers ate the manna in the desert, yet they died. 50But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which a man may eat and not die. 51I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world."
Leviticua24: 5 "Take fine flour and bake twelve loaves of bread, using two-tenths of an ephah [a] for each loaf. 6 Set them in two rows, six in each row, on the table of pure gold before the LORD. 7 Along each row put some pure incense as a memorial portion to represent the bread and to be an offering made to the LORD by fire. 8 This bread is to be set out before the LORD regularly, Sabbath after Sabbath, on behalf of the Israelites, as a lasting covenant.

Just the thought of Jesus saying "I am the bread of life....." had meaning to Jews. The constant link to the old testament, solidifies not only Christ's position as Son of God to ancients disciples.....but really brings that to life for me personally.

John 8:10Jesus straightened up and asked her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?" 11"No one, sir," she said. "Then neither do I condemn you," Jesus declared. "Go now and leave your life of sin."

Remember, Jesus asked the Pharisees "which ever among you that is without sin....may he cast the first stone" and they all left....there was large crowd....because Jesus was teaching....and everyone left....except for Jesus. Jesus was without sin. And he remained. I just found it cool that Jesus separated himself from the crowd action and what he said. "Neither do I" condemn you. He didnt say 'we dont condemn you' or ' no one condemns you' but as if saying ....."I am without sin...and I dont condemn you, go in peace and sin no more"

SAC/Launch Update

For those of you who didnt know....South Austin Cares was a tremendous success. Here is a brief section of an email Brandon sent out last night....Today was an AMAZING success for ANC and South Austin Cares. We had so much food that the trailer bottomed out and we had to lock it and park it for the night. Thanks to all who helped, prayed, canvassed, collected, gave, etc... If you get this in time, be sure to watch KEYE (cbs) and/or KVUE (abc) tonight at 10pm. They are both running a story on us. What a blast! Brandon

And it doesnt end there....we are building up to our launch this week. We need everyone to be praying for this. My guys in Corpus, I want to include you in this and I'll be sending you daily reminders of specifics on what the prayer team is praying for and I'd just love it if you guys would jump in. I know a lot of folks are coming from Corpus this week, as support and to help....and to help, and I am excited to introduce you to the peeps up here.

God, thanks for the opportunities to serve you, whether it be with a food drive, or coming to Austin to assist with our launch to anything in between, we just want to it for your Glory. Thank you that you ARE the bread of life....that if we eat that bread we never go hungry. Thanks for Easter, and what that represents. WE love you.

ANC in the News

This is awesome people! Thanks for your prayers, support, canvassing, giving, and donations.

check ANC/SAC out on the news!!!!

The numbers are in and we collected and contributed OVER a TON of food for South Austin Cares. Literally, a ton! Thanks for your faithfulness.

Continued prayers this week, as we get ready to launch March 30th at 5:00 p.m. God is going before us and we pray that those who hear about what we doing.... are drawn to His goodness.

Friday, March 21, 2008

What's so good about it?

I have heard a few people ask this year....and i for one...have never understood, or looked up, or even asked....why GOOD FRIDAY....for heaven's sake, Jesus died on Good Friday the Friday before Easter. Well, as best I can tell, no one really knows the origin of the name Good Friday. There is a bunch of conjecture, but most believe that the name "Good Friday" was adopted or came into origin in the Catholic Church around the 5th or 6th Century.
There are thought to be two possible origins for the name. One was that the day was originally called God's Friday, yet the God was replaced with good, because God's name was viewed as too holy for the commoners to speak. The second, is German in origin and "Gute Friday" literally means "holy" Friday, which makes the most sense to me.
An idea that I saw, in of all places, a website denouncing Christianity I also basically said that the day was 'good' because it put into motion the events that would 'keep people out of hell', and that is good.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Stay or Go? (John 6)

60 On hearing it, many of his disciples said, "This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?"
61Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, "Does this offend you? 62What if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before! 63The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit[e] and they are life. 64Yet there are some of you who do not believe." For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray him. 65He went on to say, "This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled him."
Disciples.....followers of Christ, grumbling, offended, unbelief, betrayal..... weird huh?
66From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.

Not that I am shocked, but this is much like the makeup of many local churches today. Unless the pastor treads the waters carefully (not a good thing), many become angry, offended and leave. Many of the 'disciples' of Jesus time (not the 12) were followers because it was new, exciting, they were seeing things they had never seen before. Here is the problem with 'easy believism' though....once, what you Traditionally believe is challenged, then you have a follow or leave. I am going to hold to the belief that if ANC preaches Truth, many men will be drawn to it, much like the disciples of Jesus time.....but many still will the idea....even follow (for a while) until their Traditions get in the way, or is confronted and they have no way out.....Truth has a way of doing this. You either have to change what you consider to be Truth....or walk away from it.

But the great part of the whole thing......65He went on to say, "This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled him." once the Spirit enables/draws.....there is no letting go, no turning away. 37All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. God makes a way for us to wrestle with Tradition, even put it aside for the sake of following Him.

God, please please please...... pour your Sprit into me....challenge me, my myopic belief systems, my personal prejudices, my traditions and conform what I believe to your Truth. Make me the instrument you want me to be.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

I ramble a bit today....because i didnt post yesterday

Exodus 33:19b I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.
I am in amazement today is some dude in Oregon. I told Brandon about this yesterday, but it just ties into this scripture and come to life for me today. I have this goofy facebook page ( For those of you who dont know what that is....its because we are all too old. I shouldnt have one..... I think i may be the oldest guy in facebook (until alex gets one). But its really cool, because you find others based on where you went to high School, College, Work History, Organizations you belong to....and its very viral, meaning....friends see other friends, then they know you and "request" to be your friend.....its all quite interesting and addicting.
Anyway, I had 750 in my graduating class in High School....and to date there were 4 other people from that class on facebook ( a testament to our age and the age of those on FB) but i check back occasonally to see if by chance some other loser i knew has got a page. well, yesterday i found an old friend. THe last i remember of him was partying with him graduation night. (not a good scene) He was probably like me in High School, saved but didnt live like it. Anyway, he is pastoring a really cool church in Oregon ( . I listened to a sermon of his yesterday and was WOWed. I often joke about some of the people in HS wouldnt believe i am doing what I am doing now.....same for him. So i called him and we had a great conversation. I told him I was actually giddy/encouraged/humbled/excited/wowed at the prospect of God using us....Exodus 33 about God having compassion on whom i will have compassion.... its true....its not about who Tray Pruet or Alex Shootman or (insert your name here) believes is worthy.....Brandon told me yesterday...."no one is going to get HIS glory. He used the least of these. Don't we know?" and its true.

John 5:39You diligently study[c] the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, 40yet you refuse to come to me to have life.

Here is a scripture I have never read. The Jews knew the law...they all had an understanding of the word of God and believed that by possessing it....knowing it.....they held the keys to the kingdom. Jesus is quick to point out, that although they know the word....they dont possess the impetus to come to Christ. Head knowledge and God moving in your heart are two different things. Ties perfectly back to the Exodus Scripture......God has mercy on who He will have mercy and Compassion on who He will have Compassion. (I feel so Cavinist today)

Thank you God for using us. letting us play a small part in what you are doing here in Austin. God, continue to move in the hearts of the folks in South Austin, break peoples hearts, humble them, make your name known, draw ALL men unto yourself..... let us be be diligent in your work. God I pray for these men, their families, our church family. I lift my friend Tim up to you....continue the work you started in him, protect him, his family, his ministry.

Monday, March 17, 2008

One Recipe (Way)

Exodus 30:31 Say to the Israelites, 'This is to be my sacred anointing oil for the generations to come. 32 Do not pour it on men's bodies and do not make any oil with the same formula. It is sacred, and you are to consider it sacred. 33 Whoever makes perfume like it and whoever puts it on anyone other than a priest must be cut off from his people.' "

The temptation here would be to make a container of the oil for yourself....if this oil makes things 'Holy' ...then if I make the same too will make me holy. Heck, I even have the recipe. People have tons of 'recipes' for religion and in 'religious circles' today those recipes are being widely accepted as Truth. God is the father of MANY religions....many ways to get to God. If you are Buhdist ...then follow Buda ..... Islam..... Allah...... Catholic.... Virgin Mary.... Scientologist.....Tom Cruise (geeez) yet only one way leads to cant be duplicated, you cannot conjure up some other way, or add anything to the Gospel of Christ. Jesus said I am THE way, The Truth and the Life.....NO One can come to the Father, except through me. John 3:3 In reply Jesus declared, "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.Again, the picture of being cut off.....(No One.....Come to the Father or no one can see the Kingdom of God) is so final and exclusive folk have a problem with it. But keep in mind, we owe no apologies for God's system. His ways are not our ways....sure I have friends who are not Christ Followers...that I wish were, and I wish would live eternally with God.... but unless they choose (Alex) the narrow gate....they too will remain cut off.

God, we know....that you are THE WAY. You sent your Son as a once and for all, blood sacrifice... atoning for all the the worlds sins. Our correct response is acceptance of that gift.... Forgive us when we try to apologize for your economy, your ways and make them any less abrasive. Clearly, you go before us, soften the hearts of folks in South Austin, so that they may be ripe for your harvest. Allow avenues that Austin New Church is using, to penetrate the minds and elicit the question "why do you do what do you?" allow South Austin Cares to glorify you, allow your flock at Austin New Church to be bold in sharing your Grace and the Truth.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Glory Revealed

Exodus 29:44 "So I will consecrate the Tent of Meeting and the altar and will consecrate Aaron and his sons to serve me as priests. 45 Then I will dwell among the Israelites and be their God.

Consecration is quite the process. I am afraid that 'cheap grace' has lessened the awareness of the VALUE of the sacrifice, or the ease with which we 'enter the presence of the Lord' I was humbled/broken this morning...when reading this passage know the amount of blood that was present when Consecrating the Altar...and the Temple...then Aaron and his sons. The blood of Christ is the once and for all atonement for all of us since his resurrection... and it was more precious that that of the young bull or the two rams.

God thank you for dwelling among us...and making us your people. Forgive me when I simply throw out cheap is free to us..but it definately cost you greatly.

John 2 AFTER THE WATER TO WINE 11This, the first of his miraculous signs, Jesus performed in Cana of Galilee. He thus revealed his glory, and his disciples put their faith in him.

JOHN 1 Jesus is recognized and is said to be full of grace and Truth. John two Jesus reveals his his disciples and a few servants. I wonder if the servants and the disciples were the same people . that...Jesus only revealed his glory to them.

As minor a miracle as this (Water to Wine) may was THE miracle that "revealed Christ's glory" to his disciples. In our own walks...we have the miracles where Christ revealed his glory to us...and whatever that may have been, a time at camp, a humbling event, work situations, an alter call at a revival or a special time alone in your bedroom where the presence of the God was there......Christ revealed his glory to you and me...and we put our FAITH in him.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Grace and Truth

14The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only,[d] who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.17For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

Having read through most of Exodus this put a new spin on Grace and Truth.....the law was True...but Truth CAME THROUGH Jesus. Jesus was with God in the beginning...and therefore the source of Truth. God did exercise grace in the OT.....yet Jesus Christ embodies grace and from his birth represented Grace. Grace defined: as unmerited favor.... getting something we don't deserve.

In this season of Easter...we come face to face with the death of, burial of and triumphant ressurection of Grace and Truth. Grace and Truth that was in the beginning, and lives today. God let us be bold in proclaiming this Truth.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Bring Your Best

Exodus 27:20 "Command the Israelites to bring you clear oil of pressed olives for the light so that the lamps may be kept burning.

Light of the world you stepped down into darkness, opened my eyes let me see....Jesus continues to be the light of the world, the source of light, even in the darkest of places, we (the lamps) are sent to radiate his light.

Isrealites were commanded to bring the purest of olive oil, my commentary read beaten (not crushed) olives, so Chirst is the olive...and the oil that comes forth is the fuel to us lamps. The passage did not specify who was to provide, so it is assumed that everyone was to provide oil, and it didnt say how much, so it is assumed that you brought as much as you had. Why shouldnt we, bring all that we have, of the best that we have? But why dont we? We settle for a tenth (or less) ...the bare minimum.....times in my life I have asked, is the tithe before or after tax....and I was serious... because that could make a huge difference in our financial giving. Tithing or giving isnt about a certain dollar amount for God, he doesnt care how much....he cares that your heart is giving the best (first fruits) that you have to Him......its His anyway, we are just stewards of God resources. I was told a looong long time ago by a Youth Pastor...and it haas stuck with me for years....."you can't out give God" and its true you can't, the Bible says Malachi 3:10 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this," says the LORD Almighty, "and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it. Oh yeah, that youth pastor was Brandon...

Luke 24:45 Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures took until this very moment for the disciples, the one's who witness ALL the miracles, heard all the parables, seen all the prophecies fulfilled, saw Him die, and walk into the empty tomb.....but not until HE OPENED THEIR MINDS could they fully understand the scriptures. This was the point in time, in my mind, where this group of lowly fishermen....became the scholars who wrote the new testament. To have Jesus' knowledge of the scripture, like when he was 13 teaching those at the Temple.... invade and permeate their minds, lets you understand how the disciples who were scared to be seen with Jesus days earlier, and absent at the crucifixion, and denied Christ....will boldly proclaim and die for Him.

God, I want you to open my mind and give me that kind of understanding, so that i may better serve you.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Torn Veils

Exodus 26:30 "Set up the tabernacle according to the plan shown you on the mountain.

A far cry from the Star Event Center (or even Akins Fine Arts Facility) where we have been coming together for worship.... Talk about fine arts. God spared no details when coming up with the plans of the Tabernacle that His Presence would indwell. Still some churches today (and I'm not knocking the buildings) , The Crystal Cathedral, Joel Osteens place, 2nd Baptist Houston....still are elaborate in their wealth and their design.....can God be as pleased with "little old us" as he is the previously mentioned churches.....YES...because God no longer makes his home in the building.....but in the hearts of his people. This is why the veil in he Temple (see Luke Passage) was torn top to bottom, when Christ died on the cross. If our hearts are 'in tune' with God's heart and we are doing the things He has called us to do.... it makes no difference WHERE we meet.(one of my e-countability guys Cody Comstock noted this morning) If you pay attention, you notice that God tells Moses the plans for the sanctuary starting from the inside working to the outside. He works in his people the same way, starting with their hearts and working out.

Brandon and I were talking just last night about the future...and where we thought our Church home would land...(now keep in mind we were dreaming) but neither one of us sees an elaborate 15-20 million dollar Super Church in our futures....but possibly an old converted Albertons, or Home Depot (with a lease purchase agreement) possibly with pews made of Acacia wood....but thats it.

Luke 23:44It was now about the sixth hour, and darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour, 45for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. 46Jesus called out with a loud voice, "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit."

It is finished! Jesus became our sacrifice...he took our sin, He finished God's plan of redemption. Like Brandon preached this week, there is no longer need for is finished. Anything we think we can do to become worthy or earn our place in God's Kingdom, cheapens the action of Christ on the Cross. All we have to do is believe and receive the gift form Christ that was offered on the cross.

God, thanks for completing your work of redemption. Forgive all of our crappy little attempts to earn your favor. I pray our hearts our bent toward doing good works in view of your mercy, as our spiritual acts of worship. As you children, you love us regardless...and you want us to reflect you. Forgive us when we dont.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Judas--Resident Evil

Luke 22:3-Then Satan entered Judas, called Iscariot, one of the Twelve.

I've always wondered if Judas was saved, if we will see Judas in heaven, what had 'possessed' him to do this after following Jesus for 3 years. Now I am cannot comment on anyone's spiritual condition...even Judas', but this verse explains to me why Judas did what he did. First of all, this HAD to happen to fulfill prophesy. I firmly believe that God chose Judas for this to happen through. Much like he allowed Job to be tested by Satan, he let Satan use Judas to fulfill this act. I dont know if it was because of his lack of faith or involvement in major portions of the Gospels, he must have been a more behind the scenes kinda guy, or maybe he was skeptical of what was going on surrounding Jesus anyway.....but regardless, Judas has become synonymous with traitor, evil, even Satan.

One thing is for certain, although a follower of Christ, Judas....DID NOT...have the Holy Spirit in him (nor did the other disciples at this time), like we as "followers" do today. The Holy Spirit wasn't sent until after the resurrection. As a follower of Christ, after the receiving the Holy Spirit, I firmly believe that you cannot be indwelled by another spirit.

Another perspective to come at Judas with is that although a follower.....he wasn't a true follower or believer. Today we may see these as folks in church, who are in church because it is socially expected or good or business, yet do not have a love relationship with Jesus and therefore produce no fruit. Maybe the reason we never heard from Judas other than the betrayal is because he was casual follower, he followed at a distance and was never a believer or had any life change.

I must preface this by saying.....God's ways are not my ways...and His thoughts are not my thoughts, and I have no biblical basis for this belief...but I believe we will see Judas in heaven. I believe some form of God's grace will be or has been exercised and that Judas sins were forgiven. If i am totally wrong....I am okay with that. Maybe I'm just the eternal optimist.

God i dont even have to understand, nor should I even try to understand the grace that saves me....forgive me if i am way off base..... Your arm surely is strong enough to save even Judas.... We think about loved ones who have died...and sometimes wonder about their spiritual condition, whether or not they will be in heaven....figuring some probably won't, but that should encourage us to talk to the one's who are still alive. But the great part about it is.... it's ALL GOD....he is the impetus.... No one comes to the Father unless the Spirit draws. God, you have and will continue to glorify yourself, and when we get there with will reveal all to us, so that we may know your plan and purpose. God thank you for your Holy Spirit who does indwell us....

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Mission Team from Denver

What a crew! These kids have been a total blessing. I am being thanked at every turn for allowing them to work for us. They are excellent representatives for not only Austin New Church, but ambassadors for Christ. The giving spirit they have is shown in how they work, how they interact with 'our folks' downtown, and each other.
They accomplished way more than I thought they would yesterday in canvassing, and they want to do more today. Its tough keeping up with them...I crashed last night and they continued on to Dave and Busters for some late night gaming, and they took my kids. I'm sure they had a blast....I dunno, I was asleep when they got home.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Mission Team Coming from Denver

I gotta be honest....I'm excited to let these folks experience what is going on with ANC. They roll in from Denver after a 20 hour drive and we are putting them to work
Capital Area Food Bank this afternoon.
Canvassing neighborhoods and Downtown Grillout with the Homeless.
Church Under the Bridge, Canvassing, Worship w/Aunstin New Church
This is going to be an awesome weekend....pray for all of us.

Be On Your Game

6"As for what you see here, the time will come when not one stone will be left on another; every one of them will be thrown down."
36Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man."

Can you imagine if you were one of these disciples and heard that the temple that you were so proud of....that your people spent 80 years rebuilding, and was built as a monument for God....for His presence to live in, would be reduced to rubble. That would have to make you heartsick. It does give you a little perspective wake-up call. Jesus here is actually talking about two seperate events....

When I was in high school I drove a mom bought it for me brand new....I know... I was spoiled. It was a monument to what I was.....and I never let it get dirty, inside or out. I would spend 4-5 hours on a saturday, washing it waxing was awesome. Well to continue to let you in on the depth of my 'spoiledness', my mom again...just before i graduated bought me a new BMW, so i could have a new car in college. So my sister got the Z28. The very first morning she drove my car....she totalled it. Wrapped it around a tree..... SO my sister comes up to me in school, crying.....I wrecked your car!!!!!!! I was so mad, I cussed at her ...without caring if she was hurt, or anyone with her. I mean, I had just waxed that car for her. I was heartsick. (Years later I forgave her)

Her wrecking the car that morning was the furthest thing from my mind......And i think what Jesus is saying in Luke dont let all this come as a shock to you. Be alert, be ready....always be on guard, dont be caught up in the sin of the world...the carnalness of all that is going on....dont forget to pray, be on your game, do what is right, and be looking for my (Jesus') return.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Been There, Done That...Got the T-shirt

Exodus 23: I guess this is a T-shirt for Jewish people. I cant imagine this being a big seller here in the states.... unless it was in a Jewish community. Its more of a promise and a possible reminder of why they occupy and have been fighting in the same land for 3400 years. I've never quite understood from a historical standpoint all the ins and outs of the Nation of Israel, and I read some commentaries and still havent settled it out, but what is apparent is that Israel occupies the land that God directs in this verse Exodus 23:31, yet other nations want to lay claim to the same land. I am open to a more clear perspective on this... and this is why I bring this up this morning.

Luke 20:39 Some of the teachers of the law responded, "Well said, teacher!" 40And no one dared to ask him any more questions. This was a time where they were trying to trap Jesus..and I bet you that after answering the questions regard the resurrection, this teacher or group a teachers blurted out..."well said!"... but I bet that didnt go over very well with the other teachers. I can imagine them walking away...and saying...."what the Hebrew was that about... agreeing with that.... that.... Jesus."
Whats funny is that these guys heard a word form the Lord.... and gave a hearty AMEN! A response when the Word of the Lord comes forth. An agreement with what God is saying through His Servant. We had a guy at our last church, who would in a very deep booming voice give plenty of AMENS! when a strong word was spoken. Another pastor I once heard at a kids camp.... said, adults say amen..... children say "Thats what I'm talking about!" so you had this service with Kids belting out "thats what I'm talking about" it was very cool. I just like the fact that when the word of the Lord is spoken.... it elicits SOME response.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Specificity of the Law

Exodus 22...from the offender to the offended and the amounts of restitution that is required, God either gave Moses insights through vision....or had given him insights through his experiences with his people. No wonder Moses father in law, Jethro, instructed him to give away the majority of the judging(Ex 18) ....and to only judge the BIG issues. I'm sure with a million plus people there was so much of this going on....that it would have been a constant job...with offended people whining and standing in line to get to the judge. Moses is creating a guideline so that all can judge equally and fairly....based on 'the letter of the law'.

Luke 19 39Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, "Teacher, rebuke your disciples!" 40"I tell you," he replied, "if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out." This is great reminder to us....that as disciples (followers of Christ) although we may 'feel' connected and important....the only thing that makes us the blood that covers us. Our worship of God is important to the father...but his grace enables us to do that...and if we didnt worship Him, the rocks would.

The closer I am drawn to God the less significant i am. I look around at guys who are pastoring flocks, and have been for 20 years....and they aren't doing it for the 'fame' for the 'notoriety, the 'paycheck' or for anything of their own, they are doing it because they are CALLED. As a matter of fact, most of the guys I met are bi-vocational. They are electricians...who are called, they are teachers....who are called, they are body shop owners....who are called....I must admit, God is increasing his kingdom through the efforts of these much if not more than guys like me. I do honestly feel blessed to be able to focus solely on Kngdom work, but i am humbled by these guys.

God thanks for calling us. God, I lift up my brothers who care about your Kingdom and are working their butts off to allow themselves the ability to preach your word. God give them the increase...God give them the joy. Be with their families and let their flocks love them and honor you. Thank you for Austin New Church and the people here..... as we continue to lift your name...I pray that ALL men and women are drawn to You. I pray for the team traveling from Denver, give them a safe journey, prepare them for your work...and I pray that they can get a taste of, and catch the vision and passion Behind ANC. I love you.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Serious TORT Reform


17 "Anyone who curses his father or mother must be put to death.

Okay, this seems a little steep, but i guess God is serious about honoring your parents. This is kinda the flipside of "honoring your parents so that your days may be long". Okay I dont remember any of this, but God is very specific about if this happens then this will be the payment for this. The same God who instructed

16 "Anyone who kidnaps another and either sells him or still has him when he is caught must be put to death. or....

23 But if there is serious injury, you are to take life for life, 24 eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, 25 burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise.....

Is the same God who instructed specifically that in Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death.....and in Romans, God doesnt go into specific sin, but he blankets ALL sin....because sin( even lying, stealing, cheating etc.....) is an offense against God. In God's economy, even the smallest sin, measured infinitely against the offended (God) vs the largest sin, measured infinitely against the offended (God) are both, infinitely HUGE, therefore are both punishable by the ultimate price....death.....but the verse doesn't end there....praise God..... but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

LUKE 1713"But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, 'God, have mercy on me, a sinner.'14"I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted."

Whoever will be the least, will be the greatest, who will be first will be last...God I pray that we continue to care for (who we deem) the least of these. We know that you care immeasurably for them as well as us. God, we pray that those who come into our fellowship, with "traditional views" of "membership" or other barriers inside churches, I pray that through the Holy Spirit we can guide them in love toward this same vision that we are weaving into the DNA of ANC. God, I know ANC is going to look a lot different in the not-so-distant future... and I pray that THAT honors you.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Fear vs. Fear

Exodus 20:20 20 Moses said to the people, "Do not be afraid. God has come to test you, so that the fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning."
this almost sounds oxymoronic....dont be afraid.....yet fear God. the hebrew word for fear, that is used is not the fear that brings terror and confusions....but the fear that rings respect and adoration. So dont be terrified...yet adore. That is the kind of fear that would cause you to want to keep from sinning. I pray for a renewed fear....of the Lord. God is worthy of our honor, respect, adoration and fear.

Last night was another incredible night, and again affirming that God is up to something at ANC. Got to meet some new people from ANC at dinner last night, and had a woman just about run us down to hear about what is going on at our church. Its just exciting to be a part of, and proud of a work God is doing, and Him allowing us to be a small part of that.