Practical Ways to be Reminded of Who God is and How that Affects the Way We Live

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By way of preface, the assumption I am placing on the reader is the fact that ultimately none of these things are possible to accomplish in a God glorifying way without being reborn, regenerated by the Holy Spirit of God. It is Him that moves us with delight in living out Christian Disciplines. Therefore, if you have been born again, here are a few practical steps to as reminders. We need these reminders or “ticklers” to remind us because while we do supernaturally desire God we also do still do have a sin nature and will continue to pursue other stuff over God apart from the Spirit of God.

 

Read your Bible.

While this seems extremely basic, I know that if you’re like me it’s not hard to “get busy” and prioritize “life” over getting into God’s word regularly. This is monumental. We have to immerse ourselves in the word by spending time in it. This could be opening a physical Bible and reading a passage or book. This could mean using a Bible app on your phone. This could be an audio Bible while you commute. For some, it might be following a twitter account that posts daily scripture. While technology certainly has its negative effects, it has also made a positive contribution to our devotional lives as Christians. Use it. Don’t not get in the word because a particular method doesn’t fit your lifestyle. Reading your Bible is paramount for practical steps to be reminded of who God is because it is the Primary source of information from and about Him.

 

Memorize your Bible.

As soon as folks read this subtitle, the natural inclination in your heart is to dodge this. It’s interesting because memorizing things that we delight in is natural, not something we have to work at. Just think about it…if your my age then about a decade ago you had at least about 50 + phone numbers memorized, addresses, directions and all kinds of other detail. Pray that God would give you such a hunger for His word that you would slowly begin to memorize small pieces of Scripture. It is through God’s word, primarily, that the Spirit is going to speak to you. For any small tips, feel free to reach out to me. There’s no magic method, but there are many to try and tailor to the way you’re wired. Therefore, when we memorize Scripture and we are put in circumstances to make a decision the Spirit will move in your heart and mind through God’s word.

 

Pray.

This is one step that I’m positive is constantly overlooked because of pride and/or lack of confidence in who God says He is. Prayer is not to move the hand of God (which is primarily what we see it used for), but it is to align our will with the Father’s will. Prayer is about relationship. If we are in constant and continual prayer (formal and informal) then we are going to be more sensitive to the Spirit and how He is directing our lives and resources.

 

Community.

It is beyond imperative for this to be a reality in every Christian’s life. It is only in small groups of close friends that we are able to allow others to speak into our lives honestly and lovingly. Don’t let this one slide, thinking that it can be “Just me and Jesus.” You need community. You need accountability and you need to give it. Get connected with 2-3 others who you are able to do life with and provide that level of friendship. Make it a priority. You eat so many meals a day and have so many weekends a month. Be intentional to use those times that you already have and repurpose them for your soul wisely as opposed to adding extra on your plate, which would only lead to despair and burn out. This is going to serve you well as you walk with Jesus in faith through this life.

 

Calendar.

Use your calendar. Schedule in times throughout your day to hop on a twitter feed or pull out your Bible. Schedule time in your day to pray and a few minutes of silence and solitude. Schedule time in to do the things that you won’t do unless you actually block time out to do it. Make this a priority once a week or once a month and be diligent in seeing it through and talk to your close friends about it, so that they are able to hold you accountable.

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LENT

 

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No, Lent is not just for the Catholics. Lent can actually have a great impact on a person’s “walk with Jesus” if it is understood correctly from a theological perspective. Yes, just like anything else, Lent can be and has been abused and sometimes even made into a dead routine for some. With that said, the season of Lent can also be incredibly helpful for Christians who choose to participate in a meaningful, Gospel centered, God glorifying way.

As a preface, let me say that I am not saying that participating in Lent is something that all Christians should do. Acknowledging and participating in the season of Lent does NOT make one more or less spiritual. It is simply another tool that should be considered around this time of the year.

Just a few thoughts on Lent.

  1. Reminds us of our mortality. The season on Lent is a great way to remind the Christian of his or her mortality. It’s a sobering thought. The season of Lent kicks off every year with a type of a worship service known as Ash Wednesday and culminates on Good Friday, the Friday before Easter Sunday. Typically, at an Ash Wednesday service there will be a time where the participants are asked to come forward only for the pastor to dip his finger in oil and ashes and then swipe an ash mark (sometimes in the resemblance of a cross) on the person’s forehead. While the pastor puts the ashes on the person’s head, he will say something of this nature – “From dust you were created and to dust you will return.” The person normally wear’s this black smudge throughout their day. It is a picture of our mortality. It is a reminder to be more intentional with every move we make in this life. It is a reminder to love now. It is a reminder to listen now. It is a reminder to follow Jesus NOW, not later. Remember your mortality.
  2. Helps us to create a new habit. During the season of Lent, one is encouraged to “give something up” for Lent. In other words, the Christian is to choose one thing that is a staple in their everyday life to “give up” in order to point them to Jesus. For example, for me it could be coffee or social media. The thought is that anytime my mind and body gravitate towards one of those items I am to refocus that energy onto Christ through prayer, reading the Bible, or just thinking about His grace in general. You can make it whatever you want. That’s the good thing. This is not some Bible ordained rule for Christians. It is a tool that is available to use if one chooses. With that said, the season of Lent is a great time to create new habits. Do you have trouble finding Bible time? Prayer time? Jesus time? Give up something for Lent and give those moments to Jesus. After 40 days, which is the length of the season of lent, you will have created a new habit. Create a new habit of intentional worship this year.
  3. It can be a great witnessing tool. I remember as a teenager working at Einstein Bagels (a local bagelry in Tampa, FL) when people would walk in every year with a dark mark of ashes on their heads. I’d laugh. I’d poke fun. I thought they were weird. The first time I encountered the big black dot I felt bad for the girl and politely told her she needed to wipe her forehead off. That’s when she explained to me that the smudge was intentional. My thought is that someone more mature probably asked that same girl throughout her day what the purpose was. For her, and any other Christian who participates, this could be a great way to ask God to open doors to talk to people about their mortality and whether they have a relationship with Jesus.
  4. It teaches us to more easily forgive. The fact is that the first time you choose to participate in the season of Lent, you will fail. You won’t be able to go a whole 40 days straight without social media, coffee, sweets, carbs, or whatever it is that you choose. The point is to choose a staple in your everyday flow of life. So, don’t choose donuts if you don’t eat donuts. When you and I fail it can be a great teacher for us to more easily forgive others when they fail to live up to our expectations of them. It helps us not to elevate our faithfulness over another and gives us the perspective that we all fall short and that Jesus never falls short.
  5. Ultimately, it’s all about Jesus. When we are reminded of our mortality, we are pointed to Jesus’ eternality. When we are reminded of our imperfect nature that tends to fail often, we are pointed to Jesus perfect nature that never fails. When we are reminded of our inability to follow through, we are pointed to Jesus and His finished work on the cross on our behalf. It’s not about us, but it is all about Jesus.
  6. It can be a great way to lead your family in devotion. Take the season of Lent to walk through with your spouse and/or kids a time of devotion every evening (or weekly). Give up 30 minutes of television for a family devo time.

5 Things Every Young Pastor Should Know

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This is the second post in a series called 5 Things Someone Ought to Know. The first post was Your Pastor is Not Jesus: 5 Things Every Church Member Should Know About Their Pastor.

It is obvious that there is much to learn from those who have done well in ministry. For clarification, I am not saying, “done well” as if visible results are the only indicator of doing well. I am simply using the term in a general sense.

On the other hand, there is also much to learn from those who have not done so well. These leaders have a different type of wisdom and perspective on ministry. These leaders have learned how to do ministry primarily out of failure and mistakes. Sometimes the best wisdom of all is wrought through failure and mistakes.

Here are 5 tips for every young pastor that I have…

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Your Pastor is Not Jesus: 5 Things Every Church Member Should Know About Their Pastor

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This is the first post in a series called 5 Things Someone Ought to Know. The second post was 5 Things Every Young Pastor Should Know.

Your Pastor is Not Jesus

I have had the distinct privilege of serving in various ministry roles including Senior Pastor, Church Planter, Executive Pastor, and Associate Pastor. Along with all of those roles also comes a great amount of transition from which I have learned a lot about pastoral ministry and the church’s general understanding of pastoral ministry.

There is one area of concern for the local church that I know many other pastors are just as concerned.

Church (that is you): Your pastor is not Jesus.

Now, I realize that everyone would quickly agree with that statement. On the other hand, there are many who while they would accent to the above statement, they do not live as if they would…

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4 Tips for Young Moms

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Your biggest mission field is at home.

Many young moms have a growing guilt for their lack of involvement in “ministry” because they aren’t able to do as much as they’d like or feel called to do. Know this, as a young mom, your biggest mission field is your kids. Be a missionary to your kids. Do ministry in your home. It begins in the living room. Teach Bible in your home. Talk about Jesus in your home. Sing about the Gospel in your home. Your home is your biggest mission field.

 

This season is just a season.

Don’t feel guilty for spending more time with your kids than you are able to serving in the church. It is just a season. When kids are young, they soak up every bit of knowledge that you give to them. Instead of leaving that task up to someone else, use this season to pour into the life of your kids. It is not the church’s job to disciple your kids, but that’s what God has called you to do. Be faithful in the season that God has you in.

 

Remember grace.

Parenting is not easy. In fact, there are some days that are just flat out hard. On those days where you just want to give up, remember grace. There is grace for you and for your kids. When you mess up and fail as a mom, give yourself grace. When your kids act their age, give them grace.

 

A heart for the home.

If God has gifted you with a home, he wants you to love it. He wants you to enjoy it. Have a heart for your home. When you do that, your home will become a fun place for the whole family, as well as your guests. It’s contagious when you walk into a home that you can tell the mom has a heart for. Is your home like that? Have a heart for your home. Be hospitable. Use your home that God has gifted to you to be a gift and a blessing to others.

Bindi Irwin, Please Fight For My Daughter

Thankful for this article.

Mom Life Now

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Miley Cyrus became the talk of America for her “twerking”” at the MTV awards last year. I did not watch the show, and yet have seen the oh so famous jig, simply because of the in your face, everywhere publicity it immediately gained. The more provocative, the more attention you will win it seems.

I recently read an article on a different girl. One who will probably not be finding herself on the celebrity gossip columns any time soon.

Her name is Bindi Irwin. She is the daughter of now passed Steve Irwin (“Crocodile Hunter”), and her stance on teen girls and modesty is mind blowing. Soon to be sixteen, she, in her own words stated,

“A lot of times I want to grab these girls and say ‘Look … in 10 years you’ll regret this. Just dress like who you are. Don’t try so hard. A pair of jeans and a T-shirt…

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10 Tips for Parent Child Dates

Parker is at an age where I’m going to begin having a lot more one on one time with him as a dad and son. In that, I pulled up a short article that I wrote back in February of 2013 for some tips.

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By way of preface, let me say that I am sharing these tips as a dad still learning. These are lessons that I have learned along the way that I hope will be helpful for you. Also, by Parent/Child Dates, I mean Daddy Daughter Dates, Daddy Son Dates, Mommy Daughter Dates, Mommy Son Dates.

1. Be excited.

Don’t make the date as if you are doing a favor for your kid. This mentality treats your time together as a task. Get excited, so that they can see you enjoy it just as much as they do. Show them that it’s a treat for the both of you.

2. Plan the date and be consistent.

It’s easier to cancel because something else comes up if you don’t have a plan in place. Plan your time together and then talk about it with your kid leading up to the date, so that…

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Fall Calendar 2013

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I am SUPER excited about the coming months for LEGIT Student Ministry. Each week, the Lord continues to build His church, not only numerically, but I am beginning to see relationships form among our students! You’ll notice on the calendar that there are no specific details (e.g. times, cost, etc.) As we approach each event date more specif information will be given from the pulpit, in our service programs, through social media, and in our weekly meetings as a student ministry. Therefore, the calendar is to merely give us a larger vision and perspective of what we can plan on seeing ahead.

Lastly, you’ll notice the three frosted boxes on the bottom that help describe our identity as a student ministry. We meet as a larger gathering on Sundays, discipleship groups on Sunday, and look outward on mission. You can also read more about these three areas on the link at the top of this website called Who We Are.

LEGIT Fall Calendar Coming Soon!

We have BIG plans for the fall/early winter.

The Fall Calendar will be first presented to the Student Leadership Team on Tuesday, August 27 & to all parents on Wednesday, August 28.

Leader Meeting: Tuesday, August 27 @ 6:45 PM @ Pastor Stephen’s Home
Parent Meeting: Wednesday, August 28 Immediately following service @ The Fellowship Hall

GET EXCITED because the fall is going to be LEGIT!