Month: February 2017

Just One Part of the Body of Christ, the Church

Sunday I had the honor of baptizing my two sons, Ethan and Eli. I spoke briefly during the baptism about how proud Kari and I were to be able to baptize our children into the church. I spoke of how I was aware that we as parents didn’t get to this point with our children completely by ourselves. We relied on the church family both at Southern Hills Christian Church and the greater church to help guide, teach,  and lead our boys to a personal relationship with Christ. The boys have had the fortune of growing up in the church, spending many summers at Woodland Christian Camp, going on several mission trips to Nicaragua, and spending years at Southern Hills in our All Stars, 456, and Fusion programs. All along the way, they have had caring adults pouring into them.  Ethan has experienced immeasurable growth during his time with his current small group. His leader Mike Jacquinot has connected with him in ways I never could, even as his father. I didn’t know when I was …

This Week For Sunday

Presently in the office, we are gearing up for the Voscars. (Speaking of, have you RSVPed with your ministry lead?)  For those who aren’t familiar, the Voscars is our annual volunteer appreciation banquet where we recognize some of our volunteers for their outstanding service.  One of our traditions is writing parody songs about volunteering using the melodies of songs we sing on Sunday. Andrew Brooks has sung about exploding diapers, cleaning toilets, and stinky farts set to songs like “10,000 Reasons” and “Our God.” Re-writing these “sacred” songs got me thinking… What makes a song “worship” isn’t the melody, the story behind the song, the artist, or the fact that we sing them in a church building. The words of the song aren’t even what make it worship; it’s all about the heart. When we sing about surrender but have no intention of releasing control, we aren’t worshipping but loudly proclaiming a lie.  If we sing mechanically with eyes glazed over, we aren’t worshipping God but wasting our time and words.  If you don’t consider what you’re actually …

What Does Your Faith Mean to You?

This past weekend I went to play golf with a friend of mine. It was an incredible day to be outside, mid 60’s, slight breeze out of the west, not a cloud in the sky, picture perfect. It was less about playing golf, and more about spending time with my friend. Our conversation went to everything from hunting this fall to tinnitus in my ears (he is a doctor and I am a hypochondriac). He is from the west coast and moved a couple of years ago to take on a new position here locally. It has been an awesome move for him and his family. Through our time together, I wondered how different it was for him now, being here on the east coast. I wanted to know what it meant to a Christian there as opposed to here, and his answer left me thinking. My friend said, “To follow Christ on the West Coast, it meant something. You didn’t just tell people that you were a Christian and that you went to church. You …

Who Do You Think Is In Control?

When I was 18, fresh out of high school entering college, I thought I had my whole life planned out. I was going to go to the University of West Georgia, save a little bit of money, transfer after two years, and go to the University of Georgia.  I’d get a business degree, go live in Atlanta, and work for a financial corporation. That was the plan and I thought I was in control. God had a different plan. God broke me down and basically said, “Dude, what do you think you control?” I wrestled with that question, thinking I controlled everything, “This is my life and I can take it wherever I want.”   Scripture says this type of thinking is idolatry in my own self. I believed I was in control, that I was the god of my life, but that was not the case. Paul shows us in Ephesians 3:1, that Christ is in control: When I think of all this, I, Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus for the benefit of you …

This Week For Sunday

When we introduced this song to the Fusion students, they took to it like fish to water.  The lyrics are moving and powerful set to a melody that touches the soul.  The first verse says: Rumors of the Son of Man Stories of a Savior Holiness with human hands Treasure for the traitor Can you imagine being alive during Jesus’ ministry?  I’m sure word spread quickly about this unassuming man who spoke truth with a mixture of authority and compassion they had never seen before. Did you hear about this man from Nazareth? How can he heal the lame and bring back the dead?   He said he has the power to forgive our sins! Could this really be the Messiah we’ve been waiting for? As stories circulated, people had to see it for themselves.  They came out in droves to catch a glimpse of this God-man and his rag-tag bunch of followers.  While the people were curious and hopeful, the religious leaders whispered and conspired behind closed doors. Who does this guy think he is? …

Renew Your Mind by Changing the Way You Think

A truth you’ll hear a lot here at Southern Hills is that your old self is dead and now Christ lives in you.  He is now in the process of renewing you. Sanctification is the biblical word for this.  You are continually being made more like Christ when you read the Bible, when you seek to put Him first in your life, when you chose to love God and show love to other people.  God is literally changing who you are to reflect His image.  Paul says in Romans 12:2 “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…” It’s the renewing of our mind where Christ changes us and makes us anew. I’ve been reading a neuroscientist, Dr. Caroline Leaf, and she talks about this renewing of your mind.  She says, “Scientists are finally beginning to see the brain as having renewable characteristics; it is no longer viewed as a machine that is hardwired early in life, unable to adapt, …

In Light of the Gospel, Treat Others With Love

This past Sunday Shannon preached a very powerful message through the second chapter of the book of Ephesians. Some theologians and biblical scholars refer to the book of Ephesians as “the great epistle” because of its incredible “gospel depth.” In just six chapters, Paul explains the gospel of Jesus Christ and adequately explains how that same gospel should affect the life of every believer. I would personally argue that chapter 2  is the richest in content and truth. Here Paul is reminding the Church at Ephesus of their prior identity before they were “in Christ;” to show believers just how lost in sin we were and how great the grace of God is for saving us despite our wickedness. Paul begins with a clear gospel message (see verses 1-10).  In verse 1 Paul reiterates the fact that we were “dead because of [our] disobedience and [our] many sins” and in verses 2 and 3 he even goes so far to say that we were following the devil! Then Paul hits us with the gospel and explains what grace and …

This Week For Sunday

In 1871 Horatio Spafford, a prominent Chicago lawyer, had recently lost his two-year old son. Still reeling from this emotional weight, He went from affluent to impoverished overnight, as he saw all of his real estate holdings consumed in the great Chicago fire.  Two years later, still suffering from the loss of his son, he managed to recoup enough of his financial losses to book ship passage for him and his family to England in an attempt to ease the family’s anguish. At the last minute, emergency business related to the Chicago fire forced him to delay his travels. Since the tickets had already been purchased he sent his family ahead with a promise to join them shortly.  The ship was just over halfway across the Atlantic when it was struck by another vessel and sank. Spafford lost all four of his daughters in that maritime disaster (ages eleven, nine, five and two).  Only his wife survived.  He immediately booked passage to join his grieving wife on the other side of the Atlantic.  As his ship …

How Can You Leverage Technology With Your Child?

Are you amazed when a young child knows how to use your smartphone better than you? Have you ever asked a teenager to fix a computer problem? Kids and students growing up today are referred to as digital natives. A digital native is defined as a person born or brought up during the age of digital technology and therefore familiar with computers and the Internet from an early age. For this next generation they have never needed directions to get somewhere, just an address, and if you asked them to grab a tablet they would never go to the medicine cabinet. Technology is being integrated into every facet of their lives. So how do parents leverage technology to build relationships with their kids? With the help of the reThink Group, I want to share with you how to leverage technology through the different phases of childhood. In the preschool phase, we embrace their physical needs. When it comes to technology we need to enjoy the advantages of technology so they will experience boundaries and have a positive …

Are You Living Like You’re Free?

Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son. He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. (Ephesians 1:4-7) Are you in hock? I was for a long time, but not anymore. One day Dad came home from work and said, “I’ve got something I want to show you.” So I went out to his truck and watched him tenderly unwrap a double barrel 20 gauge shotgun. He was so proud of it. The way he held it and treated it you would have thought there was a baby inside that blanket. It was …