Thursday, December 31, 2009
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Sunday, December 27, 2009
Friday, December 25, 2009
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Building on yesterday’s post, what does it look like to be faithful in your ministry and trust God for significant impact when you can’t see any tangible miraculous signs? How can you be more like John the Baptist?
I’ll answer by way of personal reflection. Let me tell you a little about a guy who’s a lot like John the Baptist. We’ll call him Chip the Methodist.
I can think of so many examples of people who made a dramatic impact on me even though I’m sure they couldn’t see it at the time. Chip was easily in the top five. He took time to meet with me for coffee every Wednesday night at Alex’s Restaurant before I went to choir practice at Moncks Corner United Methodist Church, where we were both members. Chip was about 20 years older than me, and he had roughly half of the New Testament memorized. Literally.
I was only 16 years old, had freshly trusted Christ as my Savior, and was reading through the Gospels for the first time at a rapid pace. I was hungry for truth, full of zeal, and in great need of wisdom, knowledge, instruction and insight. I would come armed with a notepad full of questions I had collected during my reading. Chip helped me master some basic hermeneutical concepts, and nurtured a deep love and respect for the authority of God’s Word.
You’ve never heard Chip the Methodist speak at a major church growth conference. That’s not his gig. You’ll never see his name on the cover of a New York Times Bestseller. He has no aspirations to be an author.
But Chip’s ministry is present in every word I write, every sermon I preach, and every accomplishment God brings about through my life.
I’ll bet there’s someone you could invest in like Chip the Methodist invested in me. You don’t have to have half the New Testament memorized. Just a willing heart and a passion for Jesus.
Who knows what miraculous signs your faithful ministry will ultimately produce?
Monday, December 21, 2009
They said, “Though John never performed a miraculous sign, all that John said about this man was true.” And in that place many believed in Jesus.
I want to drop a word of encouragement for those of you who don’t feel very successful, noticed, important or appreciated.
Just because you’re not performing miraculous signs doesn’t mean you’re not making a significant impact.
John the Baptist died by decapitation in prison, wondering whether anything he had ever dreamed, declared or done made any difference in the end.
(See Matthew 11:2-3).
Apparently, John’s ministry made more of a difference than he would ever know on earth. By the time you get to John 10:41, the Bible says “manypeople” are coming to Jesus and placing their faith in Him- all because of John the Baptist’s faithful ministry.
Maybe God will allow you to do miraculous signs in the name of Jesus. Or maybe He’ll simply call you to a faithful ministry that will prepare the way for someone else to make a significant impact through miraculous signs.
I have a feeling that when we get to heaven, we’ll discover that much of the heavy lifting for the advance of the Gospel was done by those who never performed a miraculous sign, but through years of faithful ministry, had a miraculous impact.
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Thursday, December 17, 2009
21Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them, 22and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.
- At once they dropped their nets and followed Him.
- Immediately they left behind careers and families to follow Him.
- There was an instant following. They didn't question Jesus. They didn't stop to "pray about it." The heard & obeyed.
- To go where the fish are swimming (Where are the lost people around you? Take out a piece of paper and all the people who don't love Jesus yet in your life. If you can't list anyone, you have a problem!)
- To use the proper lure (How do you communicate the Gospel to each person you interact with? The message stays the same, sometimes the method is different.)
- To endure discomfort and inconvenience (It's gonna be awkward and hard and you will have to rearrange your schedule to be obedient.)
- To be patient (Be intentional, persistent and filled with grace... and pray.)
- And to keep out of sight (It's not about you and me... it's about Him.)
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
In the first chapter of Philippians, the Apostle Paul writes that whatever imprisonments, beatings and trials he may have suffered, they all “serve to advance the gospel” of Jesus Christ. We implore you to keep the gospel of Christ as the main focus as we walk with Matt and Lauren through this trial.
On Tuesday, Dr. Barnett informed Matt and Lauren that the findings of the pathology report revealed a malignant brain tumor that was not encapsulated. The surgery to remove the tumor, the doctor said, was an extremely positive first step; however, because of the nature of the tumor, he was not able to remove all of it.
Matt, who is being released from the hospital today, is meeting with a neuro-oncologist this week to outline the next steps of the recovery process. There is a range of treatment possibilities but the exact course of action has not yet been determined. He will continue outpatient rehab.
The Lord is calling Matt and Lauren and The Village Church body to endure this trial. It will be a challenging road for Matt, his family and our church body. The gospel is our hope and the Lord is our strength. Matt and Lauren continue to find solace and hope in Christ. They weep facing this trial, but not as those without hope and perspective. The gospel clarifies their suffering and promises more of Christ through it all.
You have done a wonderful job respecting the family, and we ask that you continue to do this. They are processing all of this together and need you to give them precious space. Please do not visit them at their house unless personally invited by the Chandlers. The best way to serve the family is to continue to be faithful in prayer. Specifically, pray for the following:
- Wisdom for all the coming decisions
- Strength and peace to endure
- The kids’ (Audrey, Reid and Norah) hearts; pray the Lord is merciful as they process and that their little hearts do not grow embittered
- The Chandlers and The Village would suffer well because of the gospel and for the sake of Christ’s name
We will continue to keep you informed as new information is made available. Please be patient with the frequency of the updates. May God strengthen us all and may His glory shine brightly through this.
I write this today because I need to. I need to tell myself these things. I just read the pathology report from the Village Church on Matt Chandler (http://ow.ly/MM81). I have known Matt for many years and love and respect him deeply. I am praying for him and for his sweet wife Lauren, and their kiddos, and the Village. And, I am praying with this in mind: there is a difference between desire and hope.
I am praying with great desire. My desire is that God would heal Matt, hand him to Lauren and the kids to be her husband and their daddy, restore him to the pulpit, empower him to preach his heart out for the magnification of Jesus, and one day let him play with his grandkids. I think God wants me to desire those things and ask Him for them, knocking until my knuckles bleed, making it clear to God how I desire Him to respond. And, those desires are good. But those desires are different than our hope.
Sometimes desires are not fulfilled. But, our hope is. Hope does not disappoint us (Romans 5:5). Our hope is certain and sure. Our hope is that none who trust in Him will ever ultimately be put to shame. Our hope is that in Jesus we are forgiven, given his Spirit, adopted as sons and daughters of God, and will one day be revealed as such (Romans 8:14-16; 1John 3:2-3). Our hope is that Jesus has defeated our greatest enemies of Satan, Sin, and Death and through Him we will triumph (Romans 8:37). Our hope is that God is sovereignly moving heaven and earth to secure the good of his elect and bring about their glory and joy (Romans 8:28). Our hope is that we who are in Christ are the eternal objects of God's love and that nothing, absolutely nothing, can change that status or rob us of its privileges (Romans 8:38-39). Our hope is that these momentary and light afflictions are preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison (2Cor 4:16-17); that the things we suffer are not worth comparing to the glory that God will reveal to us (Romans 8:18). Our hope is that God will not leave us nor forsake us so that even as we experience ten thousand shadows of death come over us, we shall not fear because He is with us (Psalm 23). Our hope is that He who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us into his presence (2Cor 4:14). Our hope is that if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united to him in a resurrection like His (Romans 6:5). And, our hope is that Christ, who is our great treasure, will be exalted as such whether by life or by death (Philippians 1:20). This is Matt's hope. He knows this hope; he lives this hope; he preaches this hope. Lauren knows and lives this hope as well, and Matt is blessed to have her at his side.
I just needed to tell myself that today. I need to remember that as I voice desires to be fulfilled and as I plead with the "God who is able," for Matt's strength and healing and restoration, I must not confuse my desire and my hope. I am holding tightly to hope and finding my comfort in the God of Hope. Praying we all will. Apostles Church will be praying for the Chandlers.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Help us celebrate Matthew Paul Turner’s 10,000th Tweet on Twitter and you can win!
We’re giving away advanced copies of Matthew’s new book releasing in February 2010, Hear No Evil: My Story of Innocence, Music, and the Holy Ghost and $25 iTunes gift cards to 5 winners.
To enter, simply re- tweet Matthew’s message:
Monday, December 14, 2009
Sunday, December 13, 2009
Saturday, December 12, 2009
sometimes it hits me. the realizations of where i've been and where i am. the reminder of the laughter, growth and pain that accompanied me along the way, remains vivid and etched on my heart. memories captured in the frames in my mind cause me to pause and praise God for all He's done in and around me… and then, they remind me of how far i have to go.
man, do i have a long way to go.
the darkness in my heart, the pride i keep hidden, the selfishness that takes up more of my day that i'd ever admit… thank God for grace. oh how i need it.
i'm sitting here on my $20 couch… in my new house. experiencing God's provision in new ways everyday. i'm so thankful for moments like this. the events of the year led to this moment… and even though they made no sense and hurt more than I'd ever like to remember, i praise God for His faithfulness.
my God is faithful. now, if only i could return the favor.
Sunday, December 6, 2009
Saturday, December 5, 2009
Friday, December 4, 2009
My Heart is Full... I am Thankful.
By Matt Chandler
The last seven days have been some of the most interesting of my life. I have felt anxiety, fear, sadness and a deep and unmovable joy simultaneously and in deeper ways than I have felt before. I am grateful for this heightened sense of things. Today at 10:45 a.m. CST I will have a good portion of my right frontal lobe removed. I head into that surgery with a heart that is filled with gratitude and hope.
Here are some of the things I am thankful for in no particular order:
- I am thankful for the thousands of you who have prayed and fasted for my health. It has brought far more tears to Lauren’s and my eyes to receive this kind of attention from the Church universal than this tumor has.
- I’m thankful for health insurance because I’m guessing they aren’t doing my five-hour surgery for free!
- I am thankful that I have deep, real friendships at The Village with Michael Bleecker, Josh Patterson, Brian Miller, Chris Chavez and Beau Hughes. They have been such a comfort to me and my family this past week. Pastors should have good friends on their staff. It’s risky but worth the risk
- I am grateful for the men of God in my life, namely John Piper who taught me to hold my life cheap and to join with Paul in saying “I don’t count my life of any value or as precious to myself if only I might finish my course and complete the work that He gave me to do to testify to the Gospel of the grace of God. I’m nothing, I just have a job. God keep me faithful on the job and then let me drop and go to the reward.” Without this strong view of God’s sovereign will, I’m not sure how you don’t despair in circumstances like mine.
- I am thankful for my wife Lauren. “Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: ‘Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.’” “Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.”
- I am thankful for my children. Audrey the Beautiful, Reid the Valiant and Norah the Joyous. Being a daddy to these three is one of the greatest joys of my life.
- The privilege of seeing and appreciating all of life through the grid of a heightened sense of my own mortality.
- I am thankful for brilliant doctors and surgeons who have been given a real gift by our great God and King to repair things as complex as the brain.
- I am thankful for The Village Church. If there is a place that loves Jesus more, takes sanctification as seriously and wants to see the lost love the great King deeply I am unaware of it. These last seven years have been a spectacular joy!
- More than anything else I am grateful to my King Eternal, my Lord Immortal, for my God invisible. He alone is God. All Glory and Honor, Forever to You O God. I am overwhelmed in these moments by God Himself and the assurance of a future inheritance of a Kingdom that cannot be shaken and where all things are made new (Hebrews 12).
Christ is All,