Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Miraculous Boat Launch

It's amazing how you can read the same thing many, many times and still see something new...

I was reading this morning about the feeding of the 5000 by Jesus then how He walked on water. Many people know the story (it's in John 6) where Jesus is walking on the water, the disciples think He's a ghost, Peter steps out. Now here's the funny part. In John's account it doesn't mention Peter walking on water, but it does add this at the end:

John 6:20-21 ~ But Jesus said to them, “It is I. Do not be afraid.” Then they were glad to take Him into the boat. At once the boat came to land at the place where they wanted to go. (NCV)

The second Jesus got in the boat, it appeared at land! How does that happen? They were obviously out in the middle of the sea when they saw Jesus or else Peter wouldn't have been so worried to walk on water ("Sure Jesus, I'll hop out the boat, it's only three feet deep").

So the boat obviously moved! And I don't mean like a boat, the boat transferred from one place to another. The second the disciples recognized Jesus and took Him in, the storm was gone and they were safe at land.

Sounds like what happens when we trust Jesus sometimes...


Monday, March 29, 2010

Strong Roots

On Saturday, Lorie and I did some work around the house. One thing Lorie really wanted to do, get rid of the bushes in front of the garage. They were little four foot evergreens, they really didn't fit.

Now, both bushes looked exactly the same. I mean exactly. The same height, same width, they even both had the same brown spot on the back where they weren't getting sunlight.

So I started pulling the one out. And I pulled. And I pulled. And nothing. It was painful. So I sawed it down to dig out the root. It wouldn't budge (I even broke a shovel). I tried everything. Eventually I had to get my other shovel and my axe, digging out a side then hacking at the roots. At one point we even found a bulbous root, about the size of my fist. All in all, we finally got it out. It took almost an hour and a half.

Then I looked at the other tree. Great. I really didn't want to do that all over again. But I had to, can't leave just one tree. So I started to pull, and it came right out. There was one tiny root, we cut it with the pruning shears. The second bush took 45 seconds.

It showed me the importance of strong roots. The hard thing about roots, you don't see them. Both trees looked exactly alike. There was no way to know one had strong roots and one had weak. Likewise we need to be doing the hard things that no one sees to have strong roots. A verse we used the other night at Drink Deep (our Senior High Meeting) -

Colossians 2:6-7 ~ And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow Him. Let your roots grow down into Him, and let your lives be built on Him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness. (NLT)

So dive into some teaching and get some strong roots. It may just save you from being torn up one day...


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Good-Bye Grandma

Just a little note saying good-bye to Sadie LeBlanc, my grandmother who passed away Monday. She was the one making sure the kids were at Mass, now she's at the best Mass of them all. See you soon.


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Fed By Serving

I read this the other day. The story of Jesus talking to the Samaritan woman at the well is a popular one, but these few verses aren't emphasized very often.

John 4:31-34 ~ Meanwhile, His followers were begging Him, “Teacher, eat something.”
But Jesus answered, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about.”
So the followers asked themselves, “Did somebody already bring Him food?”
Jesus said, “My food is to do what the One who sent Me wants Me to do and to finish His work. (NCV)

What if we viewed serving as food? As something that actually fed our souls? It does. Many people, even those who do not know God, feel good and possibly even "satisfied" after helping someone. What if we were to harness that just a little more and look at serving God as our true "Daily Bread."

Just something to think about...


Monday, March 22, 2010

Do You Know The Whole Story?

Sorry, first, the 30 Hour Famine. We're still collecting money but it looks like we will have raised over $1500, so good job everyone!

But, the main point of this blog. Yesterday, on too many occasions I was involved in people talking about something in which they didn't know the whole story. Which is scary for a couple of reasons. One, they are talking about something in which they don't know all the facts, but for some reason feel they know enough to educate others. It's like being taught to drive by someone who has their learner's permit, it just doesn't feel safe.

What scares me more than these few thinking they have all the facts is the people listening thinking they have all the facts. So now, instead of them looking for the information themself, they are taking these pieces of truth as the whole truth.

I hope people don't just take what is said to them at face value. I include myself with that. I hope when I say something at church or I speak to the students, they don't just go, "Well, if Troy said it it must be true." There's a reason I try hard to put lots of Scripture references whenever I speak so people can go back to see where I got this idea from and see if my conclusions are right or wrong.

So I hope before you speak your mind, it's full. Your mind has all the facts. Just my thought of the day.


Friday, March 19, 2010

30 Hour Famine

I know, I'm still on the ruined words thing (thanks Jason!) but I wanted to let peopel know this weekend is the 30 Hour Famine for us at Fire & Water (well, just Water, it's Sr. High only). We're going to be starving ourselves for 30 hours straight, all the while learning about another culture, helping at the food pantry (yes, while not eating, it's mean, who would have come up with that...) and other fun thigns.

If you haven't sponsored someone, I'm sure we still have students who would be happy for the help. Ask them about the weekend when you see them next!


Monday, March 15, 2010

Ruined Faith Words - Worship

Another word that I love. Basically, because I love worship, and it really bugs me what we've turned it into.

If I were to say we were going to church to worship, what would you think we would be doing? The most common answer, singing. Worship is a style of music now. Don't believe me? Go to a music store, there's a section called worship. Type "worship" into Amazon, the top picks are all worship CD's or books about worship music.

Don't get me wrong, I like worship music, I like worshipping God in music, but that's not what worship is. We can't put it into such a small box. Worship is a lifestyle, it is wholeheartedly following God as LORD, not Someone we can sing nice songs to (which, for songs about and to God, contain a lot of words like "I" and "me").

I think the church has really hurt this by having a Sunday morning "worship" service. Yes, it is a time of corporate worship, a time where we worship God together, but for too many people, it is the one hour a week we give God as worship. Well, if He really is Lord of your life, what happened to the other 167 hours a week? Those are supposed to be lived in worship to God as well. Anything you do, if it's for God's glory, it can be worship. Scrubbing toilets can be worship (and some people need to worship a little more in ways like that).

So the question is, next Sunday morning, are you going to a "worship" service where you will "worship" by singing "worship" songs? Don't you want "worship" to be more...?


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Ruined Faith Words - Devotions

This is one of those words that bothers me (I know, I'm a bad Christian). I always wonder what people who did not grow up in the church think about it.

It's meant to mean time alone with God. A good thing, a really good thing. Jesus did it all the time, but nowhere in the Bible did He tell the disciples, "I'm off to do my devotions." Even typing it looks weird. "Do my devotions." It's simply spending time with God alone.

What if we talked this way about other people. If when talking to my wife, we decide to go on a date, I want to spend some time with her, so I ask her if she would like to "do marriage devotions" Friday night. Really, that's what it would be, spending time talking with her, much like prayer is with God. When I spend time with Lorie and I doing "marriage devotions"? When I check hockey scores, and I doing "NHL devotions"?

Yes, we should be devoted to Christ, and yes, we should spend time with Him, but why not use the same words Jesus did. He went to pray. He was Scripture, but we aren't so we can also spend time alone with Scripture.

So that's my rant, another "churchy" word that really makes no sense, this one we didn't ruin, we just made it up. We shortened "acts of devotion" to "devotions". I've still got a few more words up my sleeve, but are there any that bother you?


Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Ruined Faith Words - Witness

We've talked about this one a little bit at church lately. I was asked to speak on the idea of being a good witness, and it really bothered me (not being asked to speak, the word).

We have completely changed this word. A witness is someone who sees something, generally an act of some sort, and gives their account. That's it. They simply tell their story. In court, the witness is not even allowed to speculate on what the meaning is behind what they saw, they can only tell the facts of what happened and how they were involved.

Now when we talk about "witness" at church, is that what we mean? Usually when I hear of a witness it's someone who is trying to convince someone else that what they believe is true. That the conclusions they have drawn are the right ones and everyone should agree. We have even turned this word into an action, we can go "witness" to someone or a group of people can go witnessing. Have you ever heard of a lawyer asking someone to "witness" to the court? And if they did, was it to tell the jury what to believe?

God called us to tell our story. Yes, we are also called to do more and make disciples, but when someone is searching for God, do you think they want to be told what to think or draw their own conclusions with some information you can give? I think of it like this: you want to go on vacation and ask me for my advice. Now I can do one of two things, I can do what we do with faith, tell you that you have to go visit Disneyworld, explain how it is the only vacation spot, force you to like it in your mind. Or, I can tell you about my trip to Disney and how good it was for me and nothing more and let you draw your own conclusion. Which approach do you think would work better?

So there's another ruined word for me, witness. Enjoy, there are more coming.


Thursday, March 04, 2010

Ruined Faith Words - Gospel

Sorry, I've been under the weather still. I could go into details, but let's not...

Today Lorie was watching last night's American Idol (yay) and they said something that made me think, "Wow, we've ruined that word." There are so many we have done that to! So for the next couple of days, I'm going to put up my little rant on words that either the church has ruined or the world has ruined that belong to the church. If you have any ideas or words that come to your mind, feel free to email or comment them to me!

Today's word is "gospel". Here's why. I've heard this so many times, "This is a gospel song." Wait, a what? The gospel is the account of God coming to earth in the form of His Son Jesus and dying on a cross so we can be forgiven and have eternal life with Him. It is not a style of music from southern Mississippi. We have taken a word that really means the greatest story not just told but to have ever actually happen, and we now use that word to mean peppy music with nice organ and a little band.

We need to reclaim the word "gospel". I don't care if you like the music or not, that's not what "gospel" should mean. I don't want to walk down the street and hear "the gospel" and have people around me think of Mahalia Jackson (as much as I love her). Gospel is something personal to me because that story is a part of my story.

So... any other words?