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How He Loves

Probably now...

...more than ever...

this song...

...and this story...

are a source of strength...

assurance...

reminder...

reflection...

and, confidence!

To hear the entire song, click here!

Enjoy the story...He love us!



How He Loves : A Song Story from john mark mcmillan on Vimeo.
A short documentary on John Mark McMillan and the song How He Loves.

The Baptism of my Daughter

Today was a special day for my family and I today...

I had the opportunity to baptize my daughter today. Several years ago, I led my daughter one night to life in Christ. It was a powerful moment, a moment she still remembers!

Today, we followed through with Christ's command to baptize in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Today was a day to declare publicly the decision she made personally.

Today was an opportunity to identify with Christ...His life in her and her life in Him.

At the baptism of Jesus we read these words:
Matthew 3:16 After his baptism, as Jesus came up out of the water, the heavens were opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and settling on him. 17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy.”

I thank God for the opportunity to have led her to life in Christ as well as the opportunity to have baptized. I thank God for 20+ people that came to today's service to share in this special moment. Today was a great day!

Is this what we've become?

Just came across this video...but first, some preliminary thoughts:
  • I enjoy this style of worship, etc
  • I enjoy excellence
  • I value relevance 
  • BUT,
  • Style should never replace substance (another post on substance coming soon)
  • Excellence should never surpass authenticity (another post on authenticity vs. excellence coming soon)
  • And, finally, the Gospel is always relevant (although communication of the Gospel is important, it's the Gospel that's primary - not the attempt at relevance)
Now, the video...




God, help us not be so shallow that this is what we've become!

"Sunday's Coming" Movie Trailer from North Point Media on Vimeo.

Advice to Graduates

My good friend, Chris Maxwell - Campus Pastor, Author, Epilepsy Spokesman - has posted a great blog with a collection of thoughts from various community leaders. You can read his blog here, you can subscribe on Facebook here.

I wasn't able to get my response to Chris in time to meet his deadline, but he graciously welcomed my thoughts in the comment section of this particular blog post (as of this writing, they are pending his approval).

Here's what I wrote:
Value every season of your life - life is full of seasons and within each season, there will be fruit. Perhaps you will have to search for fruit in a difficult season, but find it - it will help sustain you to get you to the next. 

As well, value the journey (or process) of life - don't live life as an event; rather, as a journey full of adventure, risk, uncertainty and the unknown. 
Speaking of the unknown, now that you are graduating, you get to find out just how much you don't know! That's part of the journey. 
Finally, value people and relationships. Seek to add value to people and relationships. Life, and ministry, can be lonely despite the social web of networks with which we can connect. Media, in all forms (social, entertainment, print, etc),  should never become a substitute for authentic relationships where life (remember, the journey) is lived out daily. Matthew 6:33

What advice would you add?
Please, consider commenting here as well as on Chris' post...

U B U

Just came across this great video from Ed Young Jr. and the great people at Fellowship Church in TX - check it:


"GO" - but I end up "Staying"

Going to "think out loud" for a moment in this post...

Jesus said, "Go!"

He didn't say, "Stay!"

So, which one am I doing the most of right now?....

Staying!

For now...

Until...

I can go!

One of my goals for 2010 is to get my entire family on the mission field in a short-term fashion...so, I'm in the process of talking, reading, calling and trying to understand the next step for this to happen.

Will you help me pray about this?
Have you taken a short-term trip?
Any suggestions?

Let's Talk About Sex

I don't know that I've ever done a blog about sex - but, since my wife and I just finished up a Couples Retreat this past weekend, and one of our topics was titled, "The Sex Talk" - I thought I'd post some thoughts. (As a side note, I'm sure the blog traffic will increase since I'm using the word 'sex' in this post...on another note, we are not marriage counselors or sex therapists - but we are a couple that has an amazing marriage in every facet!).


First, I should say that for WAY TOO LONG Christians have avoided the "S" word - they don't talk about it in their churches, and many don't talk about it in their homes. Most are uncomfortable discussing it...I have several thoughts as to why...but I'll save that for perhaps a later post. Suffice it to say, sex is beautiful and God-designed to be enjoyed between a man and woman in the context of marriage. In fact, it's pretty amazing and should be something cherished, looked-forward too, and protected.


Here are some of the points that we highlighted this weekend:

1.   Your sex life should move beyond being boring or predictable – spontaneity!


2.   Avoid the “Time Bandits” (technology: emails or texting, phone, TV, or surfing the net; work: too many hours at the office; one-sided relationships w/people who constantly take; Children - you have to work together on this one) Make time to make love…


3.    Date Night – Fuel the fire…Be creative – It doesn’t have to be expensive, just intentional!


4.    Talk about it – define expectations (and keep talking about it!)


5.    Atmosphere…mood, music, candles, etc


6.    Don’t compare your spouse to others (models, athletes, celebrities, etc) - this helps protect your spouse and your marriage - do you see a pretty lady or a 'hot' guy...sure, but what VALUE does it add to comment and compare?


7.    Goal should be to please each other. Prefer one another!


8.    Men - Sometimes take time…romance;  Women - be willing to be quick


9.    All 5 love language NEED to be expressed in your sex life – (words of affirmation, quality time, physical touch, acts of service, receiving gifts (lingerie…buy some, plan a dinner date)


10.    Sex begins before you ever get to the bed room...it starts with the way you communicate, you serve one another and the way you honor one another. My wife tells me that "I'm sexy" when I vacuum - maybe you think this is just a trick to get me to vacuum - works for me!

Now, let me go back to something I mentioned early on - most pastors don't (or won't) even mention it in their church...here's what I mean - I know that there are some churches that have used this topic to create almost a "shock value" in their community - that's NOT what I mean. However, I do think it should be taught about even in church just as tithing/giving, communication and worship are taught.

Lessons I'm Learning...Along the Way

This post will be somewhat personal in nature...I'm learning some things...in ministry, in life, in family, in process. Here goes:
  • My wife told me today that I have to learn to accept the things that are not in my hands - wow!
  • I'm learning to "press into Jesus" more. What does that mean? Well, for me, it means learning more and more to walk in the Spirit, not the flesh - to trust outcomes, decisions and obstacles to Him.
  • I'm learning to value each and every moment with children and family more than ever.
  • I'm learning to trust God more than ever...
  • I'm learning that I don't have to have all the answers, be in every place, and do everything.
  • I'm learning that the things that I really love about ministry, can easily be replaced if not careful.
  • I'm learning to truly enjoy the mentoring relationships I'm able to develop with students and others.
  • I'm learning to allow God to stretch me...
  • I'm learning to suffer with friends who are suffering - some with hard decisions, some with a hard life.
  • I'm learning that some things are out of my hands, and therefore, out of my control - and that's probably a really good thing.
  • I'm learning to appreciate the unique personalities and interests in each of my children - which, by the way, are most amazing!
  • I'm learning...
  • Are you? What are you learning?

Origination, Destination and Maturation

Just finished preaching a series of messages for a local church recently and one of the underlying, recurring themes that I kept emphasizing was this:

Where you came FROM is important...
Where you are GOING is more important...
WHO you are BECOMING is most important

Many pastors and Christians spend a large part of their time trying to convince others that the place of their origination is the primary value of who they are. For example, I had a friend that was convinced that because he was from another geographic region, he was superior in many ways. Whether it was related to sports, social skills or just life in general, he was going to be better.
I also have met Christ-followers that spend a lot of their time talking about where they came from - whether it was the streets or the pews, you could be sure that their originating place was what was first in their conversation or their sermons. Their origination defined their identity...then there are those that allow their destination to define their identity...

Recently, I read a book by Andy Stanley that can be summarized in just one sentence (the book was The Principle of the Path) - that sentence...
"Direction, not intention, determines destination" - so, save yourself some money, that's the book.

And, it's true! Because truthfully, there are many people (and I've been one at times) that have GREAT intentions, but their direction is totally mismatched against their intentions. The end result...their destination is usually static or going in reverse.

So, origination and destination are important, but maturation is the MOST important.

In other words, WHO are you BECOMING in life...you're becoming someone. Of course, my goal in the series was to compel them to become more like Christ...to realize that in the process of life, we don't need to short-circuit the plan of God by rushing through a season...even a difficult one!

That's where I've been...evaluating my own maturation as it relates to: family, ministry, friendships, responsibilities, and responses.

How about you?
I'm sure you know where you came from, do you know where you are going?
More importantly, do you know WHO you are BECOMING?

Let's talk about it...please, leave a comment!

Life in 3D

This being my first blog post of the New Year and New Decade, I thought I'd take a moment and define some things about both the new year and decade that I hope will become a reality.



I had the idea last year from this blog post to use 3 keywords as compass points or guiding thoughts rather than establishing New Year's Resolutions. I didn't act on it, and no regret it. So, for 2010, I plan to use the following keywords as defining thoughts and guides in life: Discover, Discipline and Develop. I've included a little more definition below:


Life in 3D


The three words that follow are compass points that I will use to guide my life in 2010. These words will affect all aspects of my life: finance, time, actions, thoughts, relationships, etc. They are not resolutions – resolutions typically fail and are bound to the calendar/clock. The choice is not to live by the clock, but, rather, the compass. Life by the clock is limited – life by the compass is unlimited, open to new things and constantly exploring. The goal is to use these three words to give direction to my efforts.

Discover

Obvious Result: Learning to live again with a sense of awe and wonder at life around me

* New things in the Bible
* New interests
* New Relationships


Discipline

Obvious Result: Better stewardship in my life

* My time
* My energy
* My mind
* My spirit

Develop

Obvious Result: Intentional depth added in key areas of my life

* Deeper relationships
* Consistency:

1. In my walk with Christ
2. In my diet
3. In my reading
4. In my blogging