Month: April 2015

Why us, God?

I was laying in bed the night before last, reflecting on the day’s events at Southern Hills.  I was thinking of people being prayed for, believers asking for one-on-one discipleship, new members getting plugged into the body, first-time visitors, and 75 or so bikers who showed up to have people pray over them and their bikes.  The more I reflected on the the day, the more I was blown away at how God is moving through His bride here in little Carrollton, GA. My mind immediately shifted to the question, “Why?” Why does God care so much about what is going on in this small little corner of the world?  Why is He moving the way only He can move in the life of our church, in our town? Then I remembered… I remembered that there was a church in Corinth that only had between 40 and 125 members.  And they were messed up!  They were constantly being dragged back into their old ways.  They were weak.  They were broken.  They were misguided.  They were hopelessly confused! But …

Seeking Heaven Daily

Every day is filled with things to do: jobs, projects, parenting, school, chores, etc.  My life is not the same as yours and yours is not like the person beside you.  We all have different agendas, thoughts, and desires for our lives.  We each have different goals we hope to accomplish on a daily basis. This past Sunday Keith talked about what Heaven will look like.  As Christ-followers, we look forward to Heaven someday, but have you ever considered Heaven as a daily goal? No matter what our individual daily routines look like, our true ultimate goal needs to be Heaven.  If Heaven is our goal we should: Sacrificially give  to others our love, time, money, possessions, etc.  (Hebrews 13:16) Love others like Christ loves the Church. (John 15:12) Submit fully to Jesus, God, and the Holy Spirit (Proverbs 3:6) I am sure you have heard the phrase, “No pain, no gain” and “Nothing worth having comes easy.” Heaven is going to be the most glorious place, beyond our imaginations!  Certainly a place like this would not have easy access.  Jesus said, “You …

Heaven is Our Goal (Part 1)

I hope that this past Sunday was an awesome experience for those that were at Southern Hills.  Preparing for this message was really exciting for me, as I myself learned a wealth of truth about Heaven.  If you missed it, check out the message by clicking here. There is so much in the Bible about Heaven that not only could I not fit it all into one message, I couldn’t fit it into one additional blog.  So over the next few weeks, I would like to dive a little deeper into 4 truths about Heaven.  This is the first of 4 posts and the following 3 posts will be on my personal blog next week.  I also encourage you to study for yourself and engage in the discussion in the comments. I want to share a little about the New Jerusalem that has already been prepared for us (Hebrews 11:16).  According to Revelation 21:15-16, this baby is huge: 1,400 miles long AND wide. This city will stretch from Canada to Mexico and from the Appalachian Mountains …

This Week for Sunday

This past week has been a rough one for my family. On Thursday, we lost my Pawpaw, Dad’s dad. Losing him was a slow process. He was in ICU for three plus weeks. I found myself becoming angry and bitter about not having more time with him. I wasn’t angry with God, but with myself and Pawpaw.  And I was also uneasy because I wasn’t certain where Pawpaw would spend eternity. I’ve never really let death bother me. I’m not scared to die; I am confident that I will be with Jesus. But I didn’t have those same feelings regarding Pawpaw. I began to pray. A LOT. I asked Jesus to give me comfort; to give me some kind of confirmation on Pawpaw’s fate. I didn’t know how that would happen, I only trusted that if God wanted to let me know, he would. My wife Kelli and my 2 year old son, Liam, were sitting at the table coloring a picture of a snowman. Out of no where, Liam stopped coloring, looked at Kelli and said, “Jesus, Pawpaw.” That …

Say “No” to Say “Yes”

These past few weeks, we’ve been focusing on what it looks like to be the bride of Christ.  Keith did an incredible job this past Sunday describing what we have to look forward to in eternity as His bride.  What an amazing gift we have been given, to be in the presence of the Father, the way that He intended it to be before the beginning of time! I cannot wait until the day I stand before the Father and hear the words that Jesus spoke in Matthew 25:23: “Well done good and faithful servant.  You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things.  Come and share your master’s happiness.” (NIV) My question to you for this week is simply this: Are you being faithful today in the few things?  God has given us time, resources, and relationships.  How we manage these gifts has an eternal impact. Jesus told His followers in Matthew 16:24-25, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, …

You Are A Person of Influence

If you have a relationship with anyone, you are a person of influence.  If you are alive and breathing, you are a person of influence.  People are coming to you to hear and see how you interpret this life. Not only are people coming to you, but they also watch from a distance. As a person of influence, you are also a counselor.  We often believe counseling is left up to the paid professionals, but counseling is built into every one of our relationships. Recently, one of my son’s classmates was being bullied and got in trouble for responding inappropriately. Tyler, my son, noticed he was very upset and took it upon himself to write the boy a note.  Tyler told his classmate that he is a masterpiece made by God and encouraged him not to listen to the negative things others were saying.   We only heard about this incident because Tyler’s teacher witnessed what happened and sent us an e-mail glowing with pride. Tyler acted as a counselor to this young boy and in turn also influenced his teacher.  I imagine there are still others we don’t know about …

Buttermilk, Vinegar, and Chocolate Syrup

Linda and I had been married only three months when she asked me to go to the store and buy some buttermilk, vinegar, and chocolate syrup. I was a rookie at this marriage thing, but I had heard about the strange cravings that pregnant women develop. Nothing much more strange than that: buttermilk, vinegar, chocolate syrup. UNLESS you are cooking a Red Velvet Cake for your husband’s birthday! As Shannon spoke this past Sunday about the Bride of Christ—AKA, the church— I thought about how the church is made up of buttermilk people, vinegar people, and chocolate syrup people—people that don’t naturally go together.  UNLESS the Groom (Jesus) is blending all of us together so that He can watch His Bride come down the aisle “in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish” (Ephesians 5:27 ESV). The church is Jesus’ creation. And He knows how to blend buttermilk, vinegar, and chocolate syrup into a masterpiece “that in every way…will make the teaching about God our …

This Week for Sunday

This Sunday is the last in the series “I don’t like your wife: the Church – the bride of Christ.” Keith will be wrapping up the series by pointing us to our ultimate goal: Heaven with Christ. Heaven is going to be awesome! I long for the day that I finally get to see Jesus face to face. I don’t know how much singing we will be doing there, but I know there will be some. So, in a way,  I like to think we get to experience a little bit of heaven anytime we sing together. I look forward to every moment that we praise Jesus together. Here are the songs for this upcoming Sunday: I’ll Fly Away/I saw the Light – David Crowder Our God – Chris Tomlin Jesus, Son of God – Chris Tomlin Beautiful Jesus – Kristian Stanfill 10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord) – Matt Redman

Submitting to Christ

In Ephesians 5:22-23, Paul describes what a strong marriage looks like. A husband is to love his wife as Christ loves the church and a wife is to submit to her husband’s leadership, as the church submits to Christ. A husband who serves his wife, leads her to a better place by putting her first. A wife, who loves and yields to her husband, strengthens her husband. The wedding day is the beginning of a life-long commitment to change and growth with one another. My wife is such a delight. Kelli is my best friend and I would do anything for her. Our relationship is wonderful. However, that doesn’t come naturally. Naturally, we’re selfish, but we’re both willing to do the work to live out Ephesians 5. What makes Kelli such a great wife is that she humbly does whatever hard work she can to help get us where we need to be. We talk through big decisions and standards we live by, like our budget and parenting. I consider her thoughts, her wishes, her wants, and her needs because we are a team, I love …

This Week for Sunday

I’m a fanatic about what words we use from the stage and behind the scenes.  So when it comes to the music on Sunday mornings, I’m always encouraging our leaders to stay away from the word “worship.”  The average church attender associates worship with singing songs, but Biblical worship is so much more. “And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”  Romans 12:1-2 We worship God with our lives; every moment can be an act of worship.  When we choose Christ over the world and ourselves, we worship Him. While music isn’t the only way to worship God, it is …