46And Jesus called out with a loud voice,“Father, into Your hands I entrust My spirit.” Saying this, He breathed His last. Luke 23:46
These final words from Jesus' lips could seem like the end on a life but they were really just the segway for the future. In these words there is trust, hope, confidence, and belief as Jesus surrenders Himself to the Father.
30When Jesus had received the sour wine, He said,“It is finished! ” Then bowing His head, He gave up His spirit. John 19:30
Everyone was taken aback and surprised that Jesus went from walking and healing people to hanging bloody from a cross. Surely this was not the ending anyone would have anticipated except God. Yet here He is, barely hanging onto life with a cross hanging from His back.
46 Then about that time Jesus shouted, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?”which means, “My God, my God, why have you deserted me?” Matthew 27:46
Even though His mother and John were near, most of his disciples had abandoned Him, running and hiding in fear. Jesus went from the height of popularity to the lowest depth of disdain within a week's time.
After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), “I thirst.” John 19:28
How ironic that the "Living Water" should thirst. Jesus has reached dehydration after hours of beating and enduring the heat of the day. Without anything to drink for many hours now, His parched lips and throat desire relief. Jesus musters the strength to deliver two words that not only state His present physical condition but reveal in a very real sense His humanity.
26 When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” 27 Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.
When Jesus was on the cross, he changed the framework and lens through which everyone would view Him and each other.
Two men hung on either side of Jesus. Both hurled insults at him, joining with the crowd in jeers and mockery. As time continued however, something changed in one of the men's hearts. He went from unbelief to belief; from doubt to faith. In that moment of realization, he uttered words that would have shocked his family, friends and those around him: "Remember me"...he said.
Dr. Strange Love
Is it strange to you that the first word from Jesus on the cross was "forgive"? Isn't this the ultimate reason that Jesus came: to forgive sinners? In forgiving sinners, He demonstrated a love that many thought was strange.
Throughout His earthly ministry, He had been criticized time and again for socializing, "partying" and eating with "sinners", of whom all needed forgiveness.
18 As He was walking along the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon, who was called Peter, and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the sea, since they were fishermen. 19 “Follow Me,” He told them, “and I will make you fish for[j] people!”20 Immediately they left their nets and followed Him.
21 Going on from there, He saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee, and his brother John.
A friend once asked Gandhi a very enlightening question: “If you admire Christ so much, why don’t you become a Christian?” Gandhi’s response was very revealing: “When I meet a Christian who is a follower of Christ, I may consider it.”
It is very sad that Gandhi had this to say. But he is not the only one who has these sentiments concerning “Christians”.
Last week the youth of New Vision traveled to Teen Valley Ranch in Plumtree, NC for winter ski retreat. What a great time! God really showed up and moved in the hearts of us all. From the moment we arrives, we felt as though we were right at "home". Having worked at TVR in the past, I knew this would be the case.
Discipleship is nothing less than multiplication through replication. As followers of Jesus we are meant to reproduce our lives in the lives of others. This is God's will for our lives as bonafide disciples of Jesus. Just as an orange tree naturally produces oranges, we are to naturally (really supernaturally through the Holy Spirit) produce disciples of Christ. Here are 4 truths about discipleship replication.
Wars. Guns. Fights.
You would think I was talking about Iraq or Syria but I'm not. These are all subjects I was reading about today concerning schools! With the recent Newtown shooting and this article I read by Carl Willis on incidents at a Dekalb County School I have come to the conclusion that schools are the new warzones in America.
Welcome to What's Love Got To Do With It. The title was used in an old song by Tina Turner years ago. Look over these lyrics with the song and see if you can figure out what the song is about? It doesn't take long from looking at these lyrics and just about every song, advertisement, movie or TV show to realize that we have equated love with sex.
Superbowl 47 was certainly full of many surprises. These are my 5 most memorable takeaways from this year's Superbowl.
1) Blackout Bowl
It's more of a "lowlight" than a highlight but it will be what most people remember about this year's superbowl. After 34 minutes when the stadium was partially blacked out, official and energy representatives got the lights back on for the game to continue.
Moses was a great and wise leader. This is greatly punctuated when Moses hears and heeds advice from his father-in-law, Jethro. Read the story here: Exodus 18 . May I offer three critical pieces of advice from an old mentor to new leader?
Don’t Do Everything.
Moses was selected to lead a nation. He had his brother Aaron beside him most of the time however, Moses was the one dealing with all the decisions, direction and discipline within the camp.
Have you ever been in that situation where you feel stuck between a rock and a hard place? Have you ever been in that worst case scenario that you never thought would happen? The children of Israel were faced with this very dilemma, wondering where do they go from here? As they were stuck with the Egyptians on one side and the Red Sea on another, God revealed Himself and showed them a few principles we can glean for our journey with God.
As I have been actively seeking what it takes to make disciples over the years, here are 5 things I have found essential if we are to have disciples like Jesus did.
Making disciples takes a disciple.
Anyone who desires to be part of God's plan in making disciples must first be a disciple of Jesus themselves. Only a disciple of Jesus can make a disciple.
Over the last 13 years China has had a ban on video game consoles. As crazy as that may sound, China issued a ban in 2000 banning video games in Beijing "to safeguard children's mental and physical development".
Lenovo somehow got a system into the market last year which is similar to the Xbox Kinect beacuse it called it an…
There are many factors that go into a healthy mentoring and discipleship relationship. Jesus not only called us to make disciples but he showed us how to effectively disciple through his ministry years on earth. I call these the "X" factors since "X" in the Greek Language signifies Christ. As we briefly explore these factors, consider how they apply to your own life experience and then feel free to comment at the end.
I just wanted to briefly outline the goals and reason I have them listed for this year.Over the past few years I have felt somewhat of a disconnect within our teams from the spiritual disciplines that I really value and feel necessary for a ministry like ours to practice. Even though I do most of these kind of things personally, I have not encouraged them as strongly as I need. If our ministry is to continue to grow and become all that we can be for the Kingdom, it is of vital importance that each person see the need to adopt these kind of habits. Moreover for your own personal relationship with Christ and God, these sort of disciplines cannot be ignored. Let me outline them now. Please feel free to comment or drop me a line if you have questions etc.
Goals for WAVE Teams
Each team meets once a month with me.
Over the course of this year, I will be making an effort to meet regularly with each team. This will be more difficult with teams in FL but I think it is certainly doable. The reason this is so important to me is because 1) you are all like family to me 2) If we are not meeting face-to-face on a regular basis it’s harder for you to understand and know my heart and the direction of the ministry. This may require some creativity but I feel like if everyone is on board, we can all make the necessary adjustments to be at that particular practice. Of course, this will only happen if each person on the team is committed.
Each team member does 10 hours of service this semester
This may sound like a lot but it’s really not. If each person were to serve in their church service during nursery a couple times a week or offer to do something for an elderly couple etc. The 10 hours would be done within a couple months. A couple trips to a nursing home or homeless shelter will knock out several of those hours at any given time. This is very important because each of our team members need to understand the value of serving and being involved off the stage. Leading people in worship from the stage is a great feeling but living worship in every day life is what we are called to do.
Each team member memorizes 10 verses
For as long as we have been in existence, memorizing scripture has been an integral part of our discipling. Over the last several years this has become a lax part of our discipline. We must return to this because I feel it is important to hide God’s word in our hearts to help us in areas of life (Ps. 119:11). Knowing God’s Word is certainly more important than knowing a song. A list of verses will be posted soon.
Each team member has a devotion 5 days a week
Aside from salvation, making a decision to have a personal devotional time with the Lord is the greatest, life-changing decision one can make. Adopting this practice will not only deepen each person’s relationship with God but it will provide the foundation for performing, serving, and ministering to others. The more of God’s word we know, the more we will be able to use in counseling others. There are several great devotionals out there and many can also be found online. This doesn’t require tons of time but it does require a commitment. We all make time for things that are important to us. If we have time to text, surf the web, Facebook, tweet, watch TV, listen to music, then we most certainly have time to read God’s Word. Set aside 15 minutes a day and I promise you within a month…perhaps less, you will see a difference in yourself and so will others!
Each team member attends church 1 x a week
Because our ministry is geared to serve the local church and Kingdom of God at large, we desire for each person to attend church services at least once-a-week. Being plugged into a local gathering is not only scriptural but necessary in growing as a believer. It’s in a local church setting where we hear God’s word, develop relationships and find ways to serve others. We want each person plugged into a local assembly as a “church” even it’s an on campus ministry or some other local body that gathers to worship Christ.
Each team member is being discipled by someone and mentoring another
We also are pushing this year for each person on our teams to be discipled and mentored by someone older and for each team member to disciple someone younger. Discipleship is clearly stated to be important to Jesus. If someone is not currently discipling you, please pray about approaching someone who is older, more mature in their walk with Christ as asking them to give you an hour a week of their time for prayer and questions. Most anyone you ask would love to be part of your life in this way.
Also, please prayerfully consider someone younger than you that you can begin to pray for and if not meet together, you can simply text, Facebook, or email prayers for and connect with throughout the week.
Each team member supports mission work
We are asking that each person our team be involved in mission work of V2H somehow. This could be through prayer lifting up mission projects we are involved with throughout the world, to support local mission projects with your attendance and support. Each year V2H offers several ways for teams and their members to serve in a missions aspect of sharing the gospel with people on another culture. We believe that is is important for each person on our teams to have cross cultural experiences, even if it’s trying new foods, learning new language skills, or engaging a different country altogether. Please consider how you can be involved in the ongoing mission projects with V2H and plug in.
Each team member attends 3 practices a month
Finally, our goal is to have each member attending 3 practices a month because it’s really hard to work on music, placements, dramas, etc. if people are not consistently at practices. We ask that everyone be as committed to this ministry as you would be to any sport or other endeavor. This is to ensure that we can become the very best we can be and honor God with our talents and teams. Obviously we know that sometimes things come up but as a regular habit, members should be at practices the majority of time.
With these goals and practices in place, not only do I feel our teams will be stronger but I believe so will each individual person on our teams. Such commitments will bring great results as we serve the Lord together and push one another toward Christ.
Please feel free to message me or comment if more explanation is needed.
During this week I am exploring many thoughts and feelings about life and direction. I always love it when God gives me affirmations and help in discovery. I've had a couple cool moments over the last couple days but today's cool moment was when I read from relevantmagazine.com today.
The article Who Are You, and Why Are you Here was timely with this story: