Monday, April 30, 2007

i survived the denton, tx flood

as some of you know, last tuesday (april 24, 2007), much of the dallas/fort worth area experienced a downpour. not just the usual spring rainfall... but some massive rain-age. much of denton (where i live) experienced flash floods, and here is a video clip of the wet craziness.

Denton, Texas Flooding - Click Here for more great videos and pictures!

while i consider myself pretty lucky, my car did lose a battle with the floodwaters. while i was able to make it home, i had to have my car towed to get the water damage taken care of. none of the damage was extensive, but the hassle was slightly frustrating, and thankfully insurance covered the claim. it was an adventure that i hadn't expected.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

today's decisions... impact tomorrow.

maybe you are like me, and right now you desire to do more
with your life. and i believe that god gives us desires and
passions so that we will focus on preparing ourselves for
what God chooses to do with us today and tomorrow. if we
focus on seriously preparing (through prayer/study/etc)
ourselves for the ministries that God brings to us
tomorrow, think about how we could impact the people that
are in our lives today. a continual pursuit of righteousness
and knowledge won't only change us personally, it will
change how others view God through our lives and example.

a friend of mine and i have been talking about 'reaping and
sowing.' here are 4 principles of reaping and sowing that
she has shared with me.
  1. you WILL reap.
  2. you will reap WHAT you sow.
  3. you will reap LATER THAN you sow.
  4. you will reap MORE THAN you sow.
** these 4 principles come from a sermon by David Jeremiah.
with keeping those principles in mind, lets look at Galatians

"(7)Do not be decieved: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps
what he sows. (8)The one who sows to please his sinful
nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who
sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal
life. (9) Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the
proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
(10)Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all
people, especially to those who belong to the family of

Exegetical Idea of this text: A Man Reaps What He Sows

Didactic Context: Written to the church in Galatia in defense of the essential New Testament truth that we are justified by faith in Christ Jesus and that we are sanctified by the obedience that comes from faith in God.

Some Introductory Principles:

  • God has ordained the principle of sowing and reaping to encourage us to be careful of what and how we sow.
  • We are reminded in this text of the seriousness of how we live before God
  • How does this apply to our lives? It reminds us of our personal responsibility before God.

Textual Divisions:

  1. You will reap in kind – A man reaps what he sows. V. 7,8
    • Mukterizo – God will not let himself be mocked, God looks at the motive of our actions – the seriousness of how we live before God
    • Reap - Every man will be rewarded according to his work, what is sown (2 Cor. 9:6-8) – the amount that you sow is important, if you sow sparingly you will reap sparingly
    • Sown for the sinful nature leads to destruction (1 Cor. 6:9 – the wicked will not inherit the Kingdom of God), sown to please the Spirit reaps eternal life
    • You must believe God’s promise that at the end of all things, whatever a man sows he shall reap
    • Personal Application: God looks at the motive behind every action and the harvest that we reap will reflect what we sow

Main Idea: The type of seed you sow determines the type of harvest that you will reap.

  1. You will reap in season – It will come in when it comes in, it will not come in early and it will not come in late. V. 9
    • Ekkakeso – (Greek) to be fainthearted in view or trial or due to fear
    • The harvest comes at the proper time, it will not be early or late
    • Constant perseverance until the end, encouragement to press on
    • Only at the proper time will the harvest be revealed
    • There is always lag-period between sowing and reaping, generally the better the type of harvest the longer it takes to develop
    • Textual Argumentation: 1 Corinthians 15:58
    • “Do all the good you can, in all the ways you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.” John Wesley
    • Application: Your labor for the Lord is never in vain

Main Idea: Your labor for the Lord is never in vain, so do not become weary in doing what God has called you to do.

  1. You will reap more than you sow. V. 10
    • Ergazomai – (Greek) to work, labor – you must work at doing good
    • Paul is reminding the believers that we must do this day what we can because the day will come when we will have no more opportunity for service
    • Opportunity – beckons the Christians to serve whole-heartedly every day.
    • Let us do good – you are to actively pursue a course of good for others
    • All men – believers and non-believers
    • But there is a special place for Christian service among believers - We must help one another, carry one another’s burdens
    • Textual Argumentation: Proverbs 3:20
    • Application: You are always in the process of becoming who God wants you to be, so you must remember that your spiritual harvest takes time to cultivate.

Main Idea: The harvest always reflects greatly what it is made of. You are always in the process of becoming who God wants you to be, and your spiritual harvest takes time to develop.


as you can see, what we do today impacts our tomorrows.
the decisions and choices we make will play a part in what
happens later. just as i mentioned earlier:
if we focus on
seriously preparing (through prayer/study/etc) ourselves for
the ministries that god brings to us tomorrow, think about
how we could impact the people that are in our lives today.
a continual pursuit of righteousness and knowledge won't
only change us personally, it will change how others view
God through our lives and example.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

youth ministry gets serious

a pastor of a local denton, tx church emailed me the article, "youth ministry gets serious" that he found on before i start discussing the article, i want to share with you some of the thought-provoking statistics that it offers:

- Number of teens in U.S.: 24 million
- Percentage who have attended church for a period of at least 2 months: 81%
- Percentage who have participated in at least one psychic or witchcraft activity: 75%
- Percentage of young adults who maintain active spiritual life consistent with high school years: 20%
** Stats from the barna group,

many youth ministers/workers/parents believe that youth do not want to attend church because they find it boring, and to combat that the church youth programs must be heavily entertainment-driven. this article discusses how "entertainment-driven" youth ministry seems to be failing. the barna group shows that "61% of american 'twentysomethings' attended church as teens but no longer attend, read the Bible, or pray."

chanon ross, youth director at knox presbyterian church in naperville, illinois is quoted as saying, "the point (was) not to do anything too weighty that would turn kids off. the old goal was to keep it light; keep it fun... while simultaneously conveying a positive, family-friendly alternative to things like MTV." ross believes that this is the reason for the mass exodus of students from the church (and personal faith). for many teens it is difficult to differentiate between the gospel and the pop-culture box they received it in. the article quotes from the book, soul searching: the religious and spiritual lives of american teenagers, instead of worshiping the holy god of the Bible, most teens follow "a combination Divine Butler and Cosmic Therapist" - someone to solve their problems and ensure happiness." they call this belief "Moralistic Therapeutic Deism.

to reverse this trend, Time reports that churches are starting to turn their focus from entertainment to teaching (theology/doctrine). they use youth pastor chris reed's ministry experience as an example of this shift. "when chris reed failed to convert a single student during a 12-month span as youth pastor of calvary baptist church in bellflower, california, he decided to make a change. reed restructured his program around heavier doses of doctrine and adult mentoring. youth rolls expanded from 70 to over 200 in a period of 6 years, with 64 teens accepting Christ in a single year." reed states, "people need to realize that youth are not the church of tomorrow; they're the church of today."

over the past 3-4 years, i have had the opportunities to work in children, youth and college ministries and i can speak from experience about the frustrations of "entertainment-driven" youth ministries. i have been the youth minister who has struggled with balancing doctrine with the pressures of planning events to draw students in. now as i work in college ministry i see first hand the products of poor teaching. as i mentioned earlier in this article, 61% of twentysomethings who attended church as teens no longer attend, read the Bible or pray. i believe that we as believers (the church) must recognize that we cannot expect today's youth (or even the church) to have a strong faith if they are not given a foundation and the tools to build up. faith is more than being able to recite Bible stories. it is more than knowing the words to every song in the hymnbook. it's about constantly pursuing a relationship with God through believing that Christ died for your sins so that you would have the opportunity to come before God. it's a constant pursuit. it's not easy. it can't be based on emotions and feelings. it has to be based on knowledge (which comes from learning). how can they believe if we have not told them (romans 10:14)? if we do not help them find their own foundation for their own faith, then when the questions (personal and from others) come up they will not be able to combat them strongly and effectively.

i will continue with this topic again soon...

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

relevant singles ministry

in august i started leading worship for the relevant singles ministry in weatherford, tx. this ministry is sponsored by the new river fellowship church and meets every tuesday night. while the ministry has been going on for over a year, last night we "launched" into a city-wide singles ministry. the majority of the people that had been attending were members of new river fellowship, so the hope is to use the ministry to reach the many singles of parker county, tx. we held the "launch" service at texas star ranch, which is located in peaster, tx (right outside of weatherford). their facilities are amazing and they have kindly agreed to let us use the ranch once a month for our worship services, which we are very excited about. we hope that by providing a meeting place that is located "outside the church walls" we will be able to reach and impact more people. God answered our prayers last night in many different ways (weather, logistics, etc), and blessed us with around 120 people (which is amazing considering that we tend to have around 30-40 on our regular tuesday night services).

this post is nothing more than just a ministry update. most of you know about the ministries that i am involved in weekly, so i wanted to let you know about what God is doing in this specific one. we would appreciate your prayers as we attempt to allow God to use us to impact the thousands of singles in parker county.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

why did Jesus eat with the disciples after His resurrection... and will we eat in heaven?

i spent this past sunday, Easter, with a good friend of mine and her family. i visited her church (Parkway Baptist), and while we were in sunday school the questions of: why did Jesus eat with the disciples after His resurrection... and will we eat in heaven came up. so just like any good seminary grad... i accepted the (unofficial) challenge to look into these questions. the sunday school lesson was based on Luke 24:36-49, which is the story of when Jesus appeared to His disciples after His resurrection.

QUESTION 1: why did Jesus eat with the disciples?
Luke 24:40-43 says, "When he said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. And while they will did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, "Do you have anything to eat?" They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate it in their presence."

Jesus shows them his body to prove that he is not a ghost:

  • The resurrection body of Jesus was a literal, tangible body of flesh and bones. It was the same body which had been buried, yet it was changed in that it was no longer subject to death. With this glorified body, Jesus could enter a room when the doors were closed (John 20:19)
  1. He appeals to their sight - he shows them his hands and feet. Christ retained the marks in his glorified body, that they might be proofs that it was he himself; and he was willing that they should be seen.
    1. Zechariah 13:6, 7
  1. He appeals to their touch - Jesus would not let Mary Magdalene touch him (John 20:17), but he allows his disciples to... they were the ones who were to preach his resurrection, and to suffer for doing so. He made them touch him so that they would be convinced that he was not a spirit.
  1. He eats with them: to show that he had a real and true body (and that it was really Jesus himself), and that he was willing to converse freely and familiarly with his disciples, as one friend with another. Peter greatly stresses this in Acts 10:41 (verse included below). Could also be to stress that they will also eat and drink with him in heaven.
      1. Acts 10:41 – “He was not seen by all the people, but by witnesses whom God had already chosen—by us who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead.” - As far as we know, Jesus was not seen by any unbelievers after His resurrection. But the apostles not only saw Him; they ate and drank with Him. This, of course, shows that the Savior’s resurrection body was tangible, material and physical.
QUESTION 2: will we eat in heaven?
  1. Luke 14:15 - "Blessed is the man who will eat at the feast in the kingdom of God."
  2. Luke 22:15-16 – (The Last Supper) “And he said to them, "I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God."
    1. This references that Jesus would not keep the Passover meal till He returned to earth and set up His glorious kingdom. In verses 17 and 18, Jesus reminds them that He would not drink of the fruit of the vine again until His Millennial Reign.
  3. Rev. 19:9 – “Then the angel said to me, "Write: 'Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!' "And he added, "These are the true words of God."
    1. An angel instructs John to write a benediction for all who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb. The church is the heavenly bride; those who are invited guests are the rest of the redeemed.
  4. Matt. 8:11 – “I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven.”
so what do YOU think? why did Jesus eat with the disciples? and, will we eat in heaven? contribute to the research and discussion.