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Great quote on revival

Friend of WordServe Larry Cochran had this quote in a recent email:

“Revival is when God intervenes with His people at a particular moment to manifest decisively the presence of His Son in three ways: to give them new focus on who Christ is to them and for them; in order that they might enter together in the fullness of His life over them and in them; so that they might serve together in the fulfillment of his mission through them and out ahead of them.”  – David Bryant

What a great way to pray for someone or for a church! Lord, let it be!

What happened did I black out? Has it really been two months since I began the habit of posting three things I think I think? Can you really call it a habit if you only do it once? (Pretty sure the answer is no.) Nonetheless, here we go:

Number 1: I think you need to watch this. Matt Chandler is the pastor of The Village Church, a pretty awesome church in the Dallas area. There are lots of things about The Village that I would love to see God weave into the DNA of WordServe. For several months I’ve been listening to some of Matt’s sermons via their podcast, but I have been even more impressed in the last few days. On Thanksgiving morning, Matt had a seizure and later that day they found a tumor on his brain. He is a deep man of faith, and in the midst of probably the biggest trial of his life, he is modeling faith well. This video is him a day before his surgery. Lord, let us all have faith like that.

Number 2: I think Tim Tebow is the real deal. This article from one of the University of Alabama beat writers caught my attention. It is one thing for Tebow to put John 16:33 on his eye black (what do those patches do anyway?), but Tebow’s actions after their humiliating loss to Alabama show lots of true character. From what I can tell, he is much more than an athlete who just wants to mention God and try and look religious in the lime light. He seems to be someone who is proactively demonstrating what he believes in lots of situations.

Number 3: I think there are spiritual lessons to be learned through football. This is the one that has been running through my mind the last few days: “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn” (Romans 12:15). I’m amazed at how belligerent people get over football games. Sure it is one thing to cheer for a team you like and to be invested in a game, but when it is over, we need to be happy for those who rejoice and sad for those who mourn. I couldn’t believe how happy some people were to see Tebow crying on the sideline (and it wasn’t just Alabama fans). No matter who wins or loses whatever games, we can be excited that there are people excited by the outcome, and we can hurt and empathize with those who are hurting through the loss.

Our awesome WordServe communications coordinator has been encouraging me to blog on a somewhat regular schedule (read: more than once a month). I’ve been thinking about it for weeks, but I never seem to quite find the right time to sit down and type. When I do find the time, I can’t ever remember anything worth typing! I really had the best post all worked out in my mind the other day, but alas, I didn’t make it to the keyboard in time and now it is gone forever!

In my wrestling to figure out a method to post on a regular basis, I’ve reverted to what I’m best at: stealing. Why reinvent the wheel? When I was on my last tour of duty in school, one of my fellow classmates was Bryan. Bryan is a fantastic pastor from Ohio. He was one of the deepest thinkers in our class, and we all benefited from being around him. (My only hangup with him is that he couldn’t keep his mouth shut about college football, and he’s an Ohio State fan. He especially liked to bash the SEC, and the year we were together was the year that Florida beat OSU for the football and basketball championships, but I digress.) Anyway, Bryan is the best example of a faithful blogger I’ve ever known. You can check his blog out here.

One of his regular practices was to write a weekly post called “Ten Things I Think I Think…” In those ten things, Bryan might talk about a class we were in, a discussion he had had, a football game he had watched, what CD he was listening to, or anything else that was running through his mind. I’m not near as deep as Bryan so I figured that for me starting with three things that I think I think may not hurt my brain quite as much. So, with apologies to Bryan for the blatant theft, I’ll be doing my best to post on a more regular basis. Hopefully, about twice a month (maybe more but I’m not promising), I’ll share three things I’ve been thinking about. Don’t go getting excited; I think about really lame stuff.

Here we go for this week:

Number 1: I think 24 hour cable news may be one of the greatest detriments to society. (Wait, Nolan, tell us how you really feel.) This video reminded me. The fact that news channels now have to fill space up means that they think anything they can come up with is news. While state-run television is not the answer to fix this, it seems more and more that this is what we have. You have news channels that reflect the ideology of the ruling party and the opposition party, and the two are more concerned with digging their heals in the ground than really presenting a “fair and balanced” picture of what is happening in the world. What happened that the first question we ask now is “Whose fault is this?” or “How is the president’s job related to this?”

When the news only came on once a day, it forced the networks to do a good job. They had to sift through what they were going to present, make sure it was accurate, and they prioritized the things that people really needed to know. Now it has become about news-tainment, filling up time, and making advertising dollars. Once upon a time, I thought that CNN still had a shred of decency. Early in the morning while I’d eat my cereal, I’d watch and try and catch up on the world. Those days are gone now. I can’t even stomach it for ten minutes. I don’t care if I can follow CNN on Facebook. I just want to know what’s happening in the world. I watch SportsCenter in the morning now and get my news from the BBC website.

Number 2: I love Auburn, but I’m not ready to bet the farm on them. Seeing their new coach, Gene “You’ll Never See Me Smile” Chizik do well is really great (especially since he was 5-19 in his previous stint as a head coach), and I love the fact that for the first time in my lifetime (maybe a bit of an exageration) someone is concerned about us as an offensive team. I also really love that Chizik seems to be a really good leader. He doesn’t care about getting credit for himself. When things go well, he is dishing out praise to his assistant coaches, to the players, to the fans, etc. When something goes wrong, it is his fault. I also like the fact that they’re good again just one year after they were terrible. It proves that coaching and leadership make a big difference. Chizik and company have unified a group of kids who went 5-7 last year, who only scored 208 points all year (they have 207 already this year through 5 games), and who didn’t know what coaches were coming and going. Now, they’re rocking along at number 17.

All that said, I’m still not booking my room for the national championship game. The Tigers have a long way to go and the hardest part of their schedule is by far in front of them. This weekend at Arkansas will be tough, but Ole Miss, LSU, Georgia, and Alabama all provide many opportunities to stumble and fall. The year won’t end as badly as last year, but I’m not so sure it will be quite as fantastic as some are thinking.

Number 3: Public education vs. public health care. I don’t really follow politics (probably because the news channels stink, see number 1), and mentioning this isn’t really an invitation to debate politics, political parties, or even health care. I more just relaying a really interesting idea that my mother mentioned in passing last week. I don’t know where she heard it but it did at least make me stop and think about the whole idea of public health care a little differently.

The gist of the article she read suggested that at some point in our nation’s history someone thought it was a good idea to require that all children be educated. They didn’t just decide to provide schools; they thought it was wise to require children to go to them. The author wondered if there were incredibly huge debates or arguments from people that opposed the idea. (I bet there was.) Looking back from our vantage point, there aren’t many people around today that would say requiring people to get basic education is a bad thing or that we should stop that.

The article Mom mentioned wondered if health care might be thought of the same way someday. At some point will we look back and wonder why this was such a big deal? At some point will people be so glad that someone thought it was a wise thing to require that everyone have basic health care? Maybe. Maybe not.

This post is way too long. I’ll shorten my thoughts down in the future!

Watch this

I am a huge fan of World Vision. You can read more about their organization and what they do by clicking here. One of the things that I really appreciate is that they know their specific call so clearly and they have not let anything stop them from releasing every available resource to help them fulfill the mission God gave them.

I recently saw this video they produced about their work to help children in Africa affected by the AIDS crisis. It is well made and motivating. Check it out.

This morning in worship, we looked at Matthew 5:21-26 and our need to address issues of anger and be people of relentless reconciliation. To begin the message, I referenced the horrible tragedy at the Amish school in Lancaster County, PA, that happened in October 2006. Several students were killed and the gunman killed himself leaving an innocent community reeling in the pain of broken relationships. It dawned on me this afternoon that in the excitement of ending the message and moving into Communion that I never came back and finished the story (which without the ending really doesn’t do much to advance the main point of the sermon!).

So, here’s the end of the story:

The Amish people of Lancaster County, PA, understood the idea of pursuing relentless reconciliation when it came to Charles Roberts and his murdering of those innocent schoolgirls. They had every reason in the world to be upset, hurt, and angry. They had every reason to want to forget about that day and that man as much as they could, but while the nation grieved for the Amish, the Amish grieved for the Roberts family. They lived this idea that Jesus is teaching in the Sermon on the Mount when even as soon as the afternoon of the tragedy they began the process of reconciling with Roberts’ family. They weren’t even the ones who had done something wrong, and yet, they pursued relentless reconciliation. By modeling this before the world, their actions declared that they would never have the holiness that God desired for his people or the type of relationship with God that he desired while they harbored a broken relationship, and so, even though the world said they didn’t have to, they pursued relentless reconciliation.

No one said it would be easy, but in the midst of seeking right relationships with others, God meets us and makes us more of what he desires.

If you’d like to hear the sermon, click here.

This is awesome

I’m super excited that football season is so close. I think I’ve watched this video four times since I found it yesterday. These guys are incredible!

Do you think all of these are real?

Seeking God

I got a great email forward today from WordServe’s friend Larry Cochran. He shared this devotional through from John Piper on what it means to really seek God.

Piper addresses an issue that I have long heard people mention in prayer. They might say something like, “God, we know you are already here, but we invite you to come in this place.” A part of me always wondered what was behind that request. In reading this devotional, I connected those powerful moments of God’s presence with that prayer request. Check out the devotion from Piper. You can find it here.

I especially love this line: “The seeking is the conscious effort to get through the natural means to God himself—to constantly set our minds toward God in all our experiences, to direct our minds and hearts toward him through the means of his revelation. This is what seeking God means.”

Lord, let it be!

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