Tagged: God

Live Second – Day 2

Day two and the Live Second: 365 Ways to Make Jesus First book is doing great at Amazon.com!

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Thanks to all that are praying and have purchased the book. If you’re interested in finding out more about the book or buying a copy, you can click the image below for Amazon.com or visit your local Barnes & Noble or Christian bookstore.

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Live Second – Released today!

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Some of you are familiar with the I am Second website, and the films which have become very popular over the past four years since the site was launched. You may even be familiar with the first book, I am Second: Real Stories. Changing Lives., which was released this past January. But you may not know that a new and different I am Second book is coming out 12.09.12 called Live Second: 365 Ways to Make Jesus First. I’m asking friends and family to pick up a copy or two between 12.9 and 12.15. Please read on…

Most people do not know that the I am Second training materials on the website (offered for free) are designed from the expertise of people that have studied church planting movements for decades. Live Second is born out of that material. It is much more than a daily devotional. Live Second is a daily disciple-maker that increasingly challenges the reader to grow in obedience to the Word of God.

Our goal with the timing of this release is to make the New York Times Bestsellers’ List – a secular list. The previous book was a Christian bestseller for 8 months, and that’s great, but we want everybody to get this book, because it gets them reading God’s Word. This is about making Jesus first in people’s lives.

I have attached the first 3 days of reading for you to look over.  You can also read my review at Amazon.com which explains the book in detail. Take a look, and consider getting a copy for yourself or a loved one this Christmas between 12.9 and 12.15.

First 3 Days

My Amazon.com Review

Thanks for reading, and for your support.

Have a Merry Christmas, and live second

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Small

The answer is “Small”

The question is “How flying 40,000 feet over Yellowstone National Park makes you feel.”

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It seems so often that we consider our lives the center of the universe. In some personal ways it is. We all need to take care of ourselves and those that depend on us first. On the other hand, the extra 5 minutes in the check out line at the grocery store, a little extra traffic on the way home from work, or the occasional screening kid in the restaurant isnt the end of the world. There are much bigger issues going on around us that we should take notice of.

Case in point…

I started typing this post while I actually was 40,000 feet above Yellowstone, on my way home from Washington state. I had gotten up late today and missed my flight and started feeling pretty dumb about it and was getting angry at myself. I looked out the window and got the gut check with this view:

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I am a speck in this world. There are much bigger problems than my missing a plane. The point was reiterated when I got off in Denver, looked at the flight board to see where my connection gate was and saw a 5.5 hour delay.

After getting some work done, talking to Sarah and getting a bite to eat, here I sit with 3 hours left to go kind of enjoying the free time I have in the airport. It’s giving me a chance to finish this post, read a little and try to detox from the week of meetings and discussions at work.

Sometimes we need these “screw up days” to prioritize us. Help us remember where we sit in this world and that there is more outside our personal 15 foot circle.

What do we really want?

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This summer, SouthField Church in Channahon embarked on a journey to look into the third aspect of the Trinity that most people glaze over: The Holy Spirit.

To dig deeper on our own, Dennis suggested a few books that might shed some light on who the Holy Spirit is and what kind of influence and involvement it was to have on in our lives.

One of the books was Forgotten God by Francis Chan. In chapter 2, Chan writes:

A few years ago, I asked one of my friends if he genuinely wanted to know God’s will—no matter what God desired to do through him. His answer was honest: “No, that would freak me out.” He then admitted that he would rather not know everything God wants him to do. That way in the end he could say, “I had no idea You wanted me to do all of those things.” I appreciate my friend’s willingness to say what many secretly think and feel about total surrender to God. It’s honest, more honest than most people are willing to be.

I’d lying if I claimed I didn’t feel the same way. There have been more times than I can count that I want to toss up a volley prayer to God asking for more confidence, more patience, or a willingness to go where he wants me to go.

Why have I not asked God for these?

I’m afraid He’ll come through and give me what I’m asking for.

How do you learn confidence? By being thrust into situations where you need more confidence.

How do you learn patience? By having your patience tried again and again.

How do you go where God wants you to go? Potentially uprooting everything you (and your family) know.

How do we change our thinking?

What needs to happen in our minds to change the way we look at this?

What have you done to overcome the fear of God answering your prayers?

Letter from Grandma

From my inbox:

Grandma is eighty-eight years old and still drives her own car. She writes:    

Dear Grand-son,

The other day I went up to our local Christian book store and saw a “Honk if you love Jesus’ bumper sticker…”.  I was feeling particularly sassy that day because I had just come from a thrilling choir performance, followed by a thunderous prayer meeting. So, I bought the sticker and put it on my bumper. Boy, am I glad I did; what an uplifting experience that followed.

I was stopped at a red light at a busy intersection, just lost in thought about the Lord and how good he is, and I didn’t notice that the light had changed.  It is a good thing someone else loves Jesus because if he hadn’t honked,  I’d never have noticed.
I found that lots of people love Jesus! While I was sitting there, the guy behind started honking like  crazy, and then he leaned out of his window and screamed, ‘For the love of God!’ ‘Go! Go! Go! Je—-, GO!’  What an exuberant cheerleader he was for Jesus!

Everyone started honking!

I just leaned out my window and started waving and smiling at all those loving people. I even honked my horn a few times to share in the love!

There must have been a man from Florida back there because I heard him yelling something about a sunny beach.

I saw another guy waving in a funny way with only his middle finger stuck up in the  air. I asked my young teenage grandson in the back seat what that meant.  He said it was probably a Hawaiian good luck sign or something.

Well, I have never met anyone from Hawaii , so I leaned out the window and gave him the good luck sign right back. My grandson burst out laughing. Why even he was enjoying this religious experience!!

A couple of the people were so caught up in the joy of the moment that they got out of their cars and started walking towards me. I bet they wanted to pray or ask what church I attended, but this is when I noticed the light had changed.

So, grinning, I waved at all my brothers and sisters, and drove on through  the intersection. I noticed that I was the only car that got through the intersection before the light changed again and felt kind of sad that I had to leave them after all the love we had shared. So I slowed the car down, leaned out the window and gave them all the Hawaiian good luck sign one last time as I drove away. 

Praise the Lord for such wonderful folks!!

Will write again soon,

Love,  Grandma

No, Mr. President…

From Desiring God – John Pipers blog:

It’s a magnificent thing: The only newly-originating life in the universe that comes in the image of God is Man. The only newly-originating life in the universe that lasts forever is Man.

This is an awesome thing.

And, as everyone knows, that reverence is not shared by our new President, over whom we have rejoiced.

He is trapped and blind in a culture of deceit. On the 36th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, he released this statement,

We are reminded that this decision not only protects women’s health and reproductive freedom, but stands for a broader principle: that government should not intrude on our most private family matters.

To which I say:

  • No, Mr. President, you are not protecting women; you are authorizing the destruction of 500,000 little women every year.
  • No, Mr. President, you are not protecting reproductive freedom; you are authorizing the destruction of freedom for one million little human beings every year.
  • No, Mr. President, killing our children is killing our children no matter how many times you call it a private family matter. You may say it is a private family matter over and over and over, and still they are dead. And we killed them. And you, would have it remain legal.

Mr. President, some of us wept for joy at your inauguration. And we pledge that we will pray for you.

We have hope in our sovereign God.

The Zeitgeist Is In Beta

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This came across the Collide Magazine tweet line this morning. The world is evolving, adapting and adopting, but the real Truth is steadfast. Immune to change.

The original article can be found HERE.

The Zeitgeist Is In Beta

-Mark Steele

Pardon me, I just tweeted. Or perhaps I merely twet. Twittered? Hath Twought?

And, don’t even get me started on the act of engaging in Wii. Is it simply “Wii-ing,” or do I have to use the future perfect “shall have Wiid”? Is Wii already plural, or do I have to say Wiis? Are men who Wii called Wiimen? And do the French call it the Nintendo Yes?

A conundrum has arisen in the world of modern early adapters: When a new pop technical term enters the general lexicon, once we get used to the newly-invented word, who determines its verbalized variations? The answer: Everyone. And, it doesn’t stop with mere terminology.

The challenge with a new idea becoming zeitgeist while it is in beta mode is that public opinion will sway not only what it is called, but what it actually is. In some cases, this is a good thing, i.e., Facebook originally intended to connect college students but instead serves as a reuniter of long-lost relationships worldwide. Facebook is now the international kiosk at the mall where you meet if you get lost. And the iPhone 3G? Well, originally it was a nifty phone and wireless Internet device, but through the communal involvement of iPhone Apps it has become the ultimate timesaver and/or timewaster a hand can hold.

However, for every user-driven improvement, there are other inventions whose unexpected variations led to catastrophe. The World Wide Web was created to connect the population but has been used to connect the world to porn. The words fission and power followed the term “nuclear” long before the words weapons and war did. Twitter began as an informational update and became a more fashionable way to brag about yourself.

In short, modern technology has created a scenario in which the inventor no longer has the final say on what he invented. The consumers and interfacers are the ongoing explorers of undiscovered territory, exhausting the opportunity to redefine that which already exists and sometimes considering our capacity for self-made definitions more a right than a privilege.

It is an exciting and dangerous era in which to live. Exciting because we have a say in our present and future more than ever before. Dangerous because some things are meant to be continually reinterpreted … and some things aren’t. And, boy oh boy, do we love to reinterpret.

Take Christianity, for example. Many would call following Christ an idea-in-progress, an ideology that needs to change and shift with modern times. An ever-evolving dogma that is required to include and extol the shifting thought of modern culture. If the world around us renovates its morality, many believe a belief system rooted in love should make the same alterations. They treat God’s mandates as amendments. But they miss the point.

The act of following Jesus is meant to transform us. But we, in our majority-rules culture, have begun attempting instead to transform it. We say we want to make Jesus relevant again because culture has drifted in a newly enlightened direction. The world will never respond fully to Jesus’s sometimes-harsh rhetoric because the world sees such absolutes as mean and archaic. But the Word of God is not now, nor has it ever been, in beta mode. We, as followers of Christ, have got to be the ones to stand up and make the unpopular statement: When modern culture drifts a direction that softens and castrates Christ’s teaching, modern culture is wrong.

Standing on the absolutes of Christ’s teaching is becoming less and less popular, even in the emerging church culture. It is much more acceptable to ballyhoo the word “love” and twist that term to allow people to treat all of Christ’s standards as malleable. In the process, we communicate to a world that doesn’t deem our belief system popular that we don’t so much believe it ourselves. We’d rather change the details in order to make it a tastier option for the masses. In so doing, we suck the flavor out of our faith and serve it up milquetoast.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m all about change. I’m all about loving the world to Jesus instead of using guilt. But we have to be very careful about what we have the right to alter. Change is actually our first and foremost mandate, but it is most certainly not Christ’s teaching we are commanded to change. It is ourselves. If following Christ is unappealing to the world, it isn’t the formula’s fault. We are required to take a good, hard look at the mouths and hearts doing the communicating.

Leading people to Jesus has to become something. It must result in transformation. If my road to the cross results in the comfortable continuation of my own sin, then I haven’t merely redefined Christianity; I’ve wrapped the book jacket of a romance fantasy around a how-to manual and refused to read what lies inside.

So, let’s forge ahead as early adapters who live in a community-altering technological society. But let us not confuse our methods with our mantra. The zeitgeist is meant to evolve, but the truth? Well, the truth will never change. Let us resist the temptation to twist it into something popular that is actually no longer the truth.

Mark Steele is the President & Executive Creative of Steelehouse Productions. He is the author of “Flashbang” and “Half-Life / Die Already.” You can hear him discuss God in pop culture every Friday on the Steelehouse Podcast – available free at iTunes. His third book: “Christianish” will be released late August 2009.

Build Confidence and Destroy Fear

There’s an article today on the Get Rich Slowly blog about confidence and fear. The author, JD, is talking about public speaking, but I couldn’t help think about how this relates to everything in life – especially our spiritual life.

Here are a few excerpts:

To say “no” is to live in fear. My goal is to continually
improve myself, to become better than I am today. One way to do that is
to do the things that scare me, to take them on as challenges, and to
learn from them — even if I fail.

Don’t dwell on failures. Draw from the things you’ve done right.
My talk last week was far from perfect. But if I dwell on the things I
did wrong, I’ll psych myself out of future opportunities. I’ll be
scared to say “yes” when somebody asks me to speak. Instead, I’m trying
to focus on the things I did right so that I can emphasize them in
future presentations.

Do not procrastinate. Procrastination promotes fear. When you’re
afraid, thinking is your enemy. Act. Do what you think is best, and do
it quickly. The longer you take to act, the more time you have to talk
yourself out of it, the longer you have to imagine the things that
might go wrong. It’s not enough to hope. Take action.

Keep things in perspective. I know a woman who is paralyzed by
what other people might think of her. She’s always on pins and needles,
waiting for some cutting remark. Even small things in innocuous
conversations become huge things in her mind, rebukes for imagined
transgressions. This sort of thing saps any chance at self-confidence.

We need to keep pushing forward in everything – finances, family, God…  and do it deliberately.

We weren’t created to just exist. We were created to make a difference.