Monday, May 19, 2008

I'm not a smart man

What kind of church will Living Stone be? What kind of building will we meet in? How will people describe the people that attend Living Stone? I've been thinking a lot about the church - envisioning what it will look like, sound like, feel like.

I have no doubt that my vision of the future will be wrong in many ways. If God has taught me anything the last few months, it's that he is in the driver's seat. I don't know where we he is taking us. But, I like what I see around every bend in the road and over every hill.

The church is described in the Bible as the body of Christ:

Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. I Corinthians 12:27

So, how should the body of Christ look? 6ft - 6in. 200lb. 5% body fat. Full, thick, curly hair. 3 sport athlete in high school. Straight A student ... right? Wrong! Here's how the Bible describes Jesus:

... he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him. Isaiah 53:2

So what drew people to Jesus? What caused the 12 apostles to drop everything and follow him? What caused his friends and disciples to follow his teachings long after he was gone - even to the point of their own death?

The qualities that drew people to Jesus are the same that should draw people to our church like love, compassion, mercy, forgiveness, and grace. People should feel welcome at Living Stone Bible Church. There should be an overriding foundation of love that guides us in all that we do.

And, at the same time we should be like Jesus in that he was bold, daring, courageous, and unwavering in his commitment to speak the truth. It is not loving to agree with a dying world that they are not dying. It is not loving to agree with a lost world that they are not lost.

And, finally, Jesus was willing to lay down his life for those that he loved. He did not put himself first. He was not planning for retirement. He wasn't saving for a new boat. He wasn't concerned with fame or prestige. Instead, he put you and I first.

"I'm not a smart man... but I know what love is." - Forrest Gump.

In Christ,

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Stay tuned

Months ago we set a goal for ourselves. Our goal was to meet for the first time as a church on May 11th. As of today, we still have not found a facility that we feel is right. Some doors have been closed on us. And, other doors we closed on our own.

We are confident that God will provide. But, his timing in this case is not the same as ours. When he decides the time is right, the perfect opportunity will present itself and we will jump in with both feet.

I will post any updates here. So, stay tuned. In the meantime, please continue to be diligent in prayer. We are unsure of where we are going to be meeting. But, God is not. He knows right where we will be and when we will be there.

In Christ,

Monday, May 5, 2008

There is a place

Yesterday at 3:15pm I was playing basketball at my old high school with some friends. I really love playing ball with my friends. I love the exercise and the comradery. I love feeling tired when I'm done. I love the high-fives between games.

It turned out to be just one part of a really wonderful day. The worship/singing portion of church that morning was excellent. And, after church we had a cook-out with some friends. The weather was absolutely perfect for Indiana. Not too hot. Not too cold. Blue skies. Slight breeze. No humidity.

The perfect weather continued throughout the day. After basketball I sat on the back deck and prepared for Bible study. I thanked God for the beautiful weather, a house to live in, a place to work, a wonderful wife, 6 great kids, family, friends, etc.. I was over-whelmed with the blessings from God. I was flying high.

At Bible study that night, I expressed my feelings of gratitude and thankfulness to God as we sat in a screened-in porch enjoying the cool evening air and watching the sun set. I mentioned passages like this:

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the
Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. James
1:17

and,

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare [1] and not
for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11

I gave God all the glory and the praise for the blessings and the good things in my life.

Yesterday at 3:15pm my cousin Jeff was riding his motorcycle when he ran into the back of another car and died instantly. I heard the news from my mom today. Today I am in pain. Today my tears of joy and gratitude have been replaced with tears of grief and sorrow. I grieve for my aunt and my uncle. I grieve for Jeff's fiancee. I grieve for Jeff's sister and brother and their children. I grieve for my mom. Today I grieve for Jeff.

I grieve ... but I also remind myself that there is a place where everyday will be perfect:

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more,
neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former
things have passed away.” Revelation 21:4

"There is a place." - Mark Mohler

In Christ,