Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Hearts on Fire Video

Here is a video I am showing tonight that we made highlighting our trip a couple weeks ago to the Hearts on Fire Conference.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

What I'm Thankful For

Since this week is Thanksgiving I wanted to take some time to think about and share the things that I am thankful for:

-My Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  I am so thankful that He died for me so that I can have a relationship with Him and live with Him eternally.  I am thankful that He loves me and cares for me the way that He does.  I am thankful that He speaks truth into my life and corrects me when I need it.

-My wife and best friend Belinda.  I cannot explain how thankful I am for her.  I could not make it without her as she is someone I depend on so much.  She puts up with me which is a huge task in itself.  I am thankful that she loves me and cares for me the way she does.  Honestly, she spoils me!  I am so thankful for the ways that she supports me in everything I do.  I am thankful for her godliness that is simply beautiful.

-My family.  My family means so much to me, and I am thankful for them more each and every day.  I am so blessed to have the support in my family that I do.  My family brings such joy in my life.

-This weekend.  God really did some amazing things this weekend for me.  It began with us taking the students to the Hearts on Fire Conference in Gatlinburg where we were blessed to hear David Nasser, Clayton King, and the David Crowder Band.  Our church's Thanksgiving service was Sunday morning and they surprised us by also making it Pastor Appreciation Day.  Deacons and one of our students specifically shared how they are thankful for me, which was such a blessing.  To know that people love you, care for you, and pray for you is truly humbling.  Then last night Belinda and I went to the Michael W. Smith and Amy Grant concert in Knoxville.  We had incredible seats and it was a great night.  We even had time to get gelato before the concert!  All in all, God refreshed me this weekend in a way that I was in much need of, which I am grateful for.

-My friends.  I have a few good friends in my life who care for me, support me, and listen to me.  I appreciate all they do for me.

-My home.  Sometimes I whine and complain about the things that seem to constantly tear up in our home, the squirrels that live in our attic, etc.  But the truth is we have a home to live in.  It breaks my heart that people in this world are homeless.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Hearts on Fire Conference

This weekend we took the students to the Hearts on Fire Conference in Gatlinburg, TN.  We had an incredible weekend where we were challenged with Biblical preaching and an awesome concert.  David Nasser spoke on Friday night and did an amazing job.  I have been a big fan of David's for years and have always wanted to take the students to a conference he was speaking at.  He shared how he has been through many fires in his life, but the deliverance that Jesus provided him.  He challenged us with the truth that in order to be saved, we don't need a cleaned up heart, but a complete heart transplant and that when Jesus saves us, we are changed forever!  His invitation was probably the best I have ever seen done.  Instead of him having the worship band play, he had no music and had the house lights turned on.  He then said that if anyone knew that they needed to be saved to stand up.  He gave this opportunity for several minutes, and discouraged applause.  He did this in order for people to make a true decision for salvation and not make an emotional decision.  I was very glad it was done this way since one of my biggest criticisms of youth conference in general is the emotional factor that takes place.  David did an excellent job and I was glad we got to hear him.

Saturday morning started off with a concert by the David Crowder Band!  Crowder is one of our group's favorites and it was especially exciting since the band is hanging it up with their final album coming out in January.  Not only was this an exciting concert, but there was also a great element of worship involved.  

The last session on Saturday evening had Clayton King as the speaker.  I had never heard him speak, but knew of him.  Clayton gave an amazing message as well!  He spoke from John 6 and the different types of belief.  He gave an invitation very similar to David.  Many lives were changed this weekend and I am glad we were able to be a part of it.  I believe God did a great work in the lives of our students, as well as the adult leaders!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

WNW 11/9/11 & 11/16/11

The past two weeks at Wednesday Night Worship the students led the service.  I was gone the week before and that night they split into groups and planned out their services from songs, lessons taught, who would pray, activities, etc.  Both groups did an amazing job and it's always really neat to see how the messages go together without them planning them that way.  Only God could!

Wednesday Night Worship 11/9/11- Group 1 Led by Mitchell
Group 1 was led by Mitchell and they opened the night by playing a game called Zoom-Erk (not sure how to spell that).  I'm not even going to try to explain the game but the "erks" are essentially like roadblocks which tied into their lesson.  After playing a round of this game we sang some worship songs.  They asked the youth band to lead and chose for us to sing:  Enough, O Come All Ye Faithful, Our God, Sanctuary, and Marvelous Light.  After the worship set, Mitchell taught a lesson about the "Erks" or roadblocks that are in our lives that hinder our spiritual growth.  He used several verses to go along with the theme and did an excellent job in challenging us all to identify those things that hinder us and get around them in order to grow closer to God.

Wednesday Night Worship 11/16/11- Group 2 Led by Kaite
Group 2 went last night and was led by Kaite.  They began the night by playing one of their favorites- the human knot/pretzel.  Then we played a couple of rounds of the looking game, where everyone is standing in a circle and look down and on the count of 3 everyone looks at someone's eyes.  If you make eye contact with the same person you are looking at then both are out.  After that the group did their own worship leading and sang: Jesus Loves Me, Go Tell It On The Mountain, and This Little Light of Mine.  Their lesson for the night was how we are all parts of one body and used 1 Corinthians 12:12-31.  Each person in the group read a few verses and then placed a part of the body on a cutout of a person.  It was cool how each student played a part in the lesson about how we all play a part in the body of Christ!  Afterward I shared how it was cool how the two lessons went together in the fact that we have to get rid of the roadblocks in our lives before we can properly function as a body of Christ.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

You are Mine!- Isaiah 43

I was reading Isaiah 43 a couple of days ago and am still overwhelmed by God's Word.  I get excited and all mushy when my wife makes a statement similar to the fact that "I'm hers", but the fact that the God of the universe says that I'm His just blows me away.  Even though I fail and let Him down, even though I try to do life on my own sometimes, even though I do not give Him the time He deserves, He still loves me!  Not only does He love me, but He protects me through the fire, and is there with me every step of the way!

Isaiah 43:1-7
1 But now, thus says the Lord, your Creator, O Jacob,
And He who formed you, O Israel,
"Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name; you are Mine!
2  "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
And through the rivers, they will not overflow you;
When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched,
Nor will the flame burn you.
3 "For I am the Lord your God,
The Holy One of Israel, your Savior;
I have given Egypt as your ransom,
Cush and Seba in your place.
4  "Since you are precious in My sight,
Since you are honored and I love you,
I will give other men in your place and other peoples in exchange for you life.
5  "Do not fear, for I am with you;
I will bring your offspring from the east,
And gather you from the west.
6 "I will say to the north, 'Give them up!'
And to the south, 'Do not hold them back.'
Bring My sons from afar
And My daughters from the ends of the earth,
7 Everyone who is called by My name,
And whom I have created for My glory,
Whom I have formed, even whom I have made."