Monday Kfirst Kickstart: “The Missing Piece to Peace” #TrueNorth

Today I want to give you a place to start your week. It’s Monday and in the wake of a great weekend and a workweek ahead, sometimes you just need a “kickstart” to get focused.  So grab some coffee let’s start a great week together.

I’m not sure if you knew this, but a magnetic compass doesn’t always show “true north.” It has been historically known that “magnetic north” waders in diverse directions. At some periods in the earth’s history, it reversed so that magnetic north pole has been near the geographic south pole. What we know as “true north” is north according to the earth’s axis. Most of us only know magnetic north. We follow what a needle driven by a magnetic PULL and have learned to follow that.

There are many things “pulling” at our attention attempting to get the focus of our lives. Jesus is our “True North.” And in this series, we’ll dive into the Old Testament prophets who spoke out to draw the people of God back to “True North.”

Check out the service yesterday from the website or from the Facebook livestream. 

Other thoughts from the Youversion notes from Sunday:

  • Peace is marked by the presence of Christ, not by the condition of our circumstances.
  • Lasting peace can be found when we realize Jesus is our source for peace and He is always with us.
  • “God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because…there is no such thing.” – C.S. Lewis
  • We are not called to be peace keepers but peace makers.

Love you all. Have an amazing week.

BTW: Here’s a great song for this week…

 

Monday Kfirst Kickstart: “The Problem is in the Pull” #TrueNorth

Today I want to give you a place to start your week. It’s Monday and in the wake of a great weekend and a workweek ahead, sometimes you just need a “kickstart” to get focused.  So grab some coffee let’s start a great week together.

I’m not sure if you know this, but a magnetic compass doesn’t always show “true north.” It has been historically known that “magnetic north” waders in diverse directions. At some periods in the earth’s history, it reversed so that magnetic north pole has been near the geographic south pole. What we know as “true north” is north according to the earth’s axis. Most of us only know magnetic north. We follow what a needle driven by a magnetic PULL and have learned to follow that.

There are many things “pulling” at our attention attempting to get the focus of our lives. Jesus is our “True North.” And in this series, we’ll dive into the Old Testament prophets who spoke out to draw the people of God back to “True North.”

https://twitter.com/DawnHause/status/1069257476778921984

Sunday, we kicked off this new series.  Check out the service yesterday from the website. Unfortunately, we don’t have it from the Facebook livestream. 

Other thoughts from the Youversion notes from Sunday:

  • I can REDUCE my beliefs down to my experience or I can RAISE my experience up to my beliefs.
  • Prophecy lets us know WHO God is (disposition) and WHAT he is up to (direction).
  • Too many of us try to bring God’s story into our story instead of us stepping into His story.
  • It’s amazing how a storyline in your head can develop a “pull” in your heart.

Love you all. Have an amazing week.

BTW: Here’s our new song we’ve done over the past two weeks:

 

 

 

Monday Kfirst Kickstart: “St(X)ry” #uneXpected

Today I want to give you a place to start your week. It’s Monday and in the wake of a great weekend and long workweek ahead, sometimes you just need a “kickstart” to get focused.  So grab some coffee let’s start a great week together.

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Yesterday, we continued our Christmas series at Kfirst called”uneXpected.” Everything about the Christmas story was completely uneXpected. A pregnant virgin. A King born in a cave. Shepherds experiencing angelic announcements. Wise men bowing before a peasant child. Nothing about the birth of Jesus was what anyone really eXpected…

…but it was exactly what we needed.

We brought a prayer for the month of December that was born out of Luke 1:38-39, “Lord, help me to be humble enough to CATCH what you say & CLING to Your instruction so CHRIST is seen in all I say & do.” (Click here for yesterday’s notes.)

Have you ever had something happen to you that made you think you had to abandon everything you planned? What you may be experiencing is not the end of your story but the end of a “season” in your story.

Yesterday, we read out of Matthew 1:18-25 as we studied Joseph. Of the little we know of him, we catch what may be the most important thing about him: His Motives.

Yesterday, we read out of Matthew 1:20 as we studied the interaction of Joseph and the Angel. The message of God to Joseph came to him at a time of frustration and failure, a place of hopelessness and heaviness. The news of his soon-to-be wife being pregnant was enough to devastate everything he envisioned. It’s why we said yesterday:

From this simple portion of scripture we see three thoughts:

  1. Everybody needs to encounter God for themselves.
  2. You can’t live for God by yourself.
  3. Every day is a decision: Live by faith or sight.

And when we step out in faith, our faith intersects with God’s faithfulness and miracles begin to happen.

What changes and challenges are you facing? Are you in the middle of a tough season? If you are, I want to challenge you to submit the brokenness and frustration to God. The problem is not that God has abandoned us in our pain, but that sometimes we refuse to face it with him. Sometimes, we hold onto it and think it’s our “sentence” in life.

But, in Christ, the best is yet to come. And God hasn’t brought you this far, to bring you this far. There’s more to your story. There’s more, in Christ, ahead of you.

Our messages are for Monday and we need to put action to what the Lord is speaking. Give God what is heavy upon your heart and ask the Lord to give you the vision to see some steps of faith to move forward in faith and not sight.

Also, if you’re looking for a scripture reading plan to go along with our message, check out this one.

Love you all.  See you this Saturday as we step into our Christmas Eve Service!

Frozen Tears: Dealing with loss during the holidays!

It’s been only a few days…

Christmas is the day after tomorrow, yet, with grandma not here, it doesn’t feel like the holiday is close at all.

The grieving process is different with Grandma Price.  The timing of finding out about her cancer…the quickness of her departure….the approaching of the holiday season…

I find myself…
…not broken down
…not frantic
…not consumed in emotion.

I’m, well, “reflective.”

It’s the only word I know to use right now.  It is the only adequate word that can describe my state of spirit.  I can’t say her death has dampened the holidays.  I think it’s given much more perspective than ever.  So, with a couple hours to write, I thought I’d ramble a bit before the funeral.

5 thoughts from the past few days…

1 – Allow people to grieve.  Grief is a very natural and perfectly acceptable thing for us as humans to feel. Eugene Peterson said,

“We don’t become more spiritual by being less human.”

Not sure why people are against the process of grief. Grieving isn’t a lack of faith in Jesus.  It’s the expression of sting that death leaves upon our flesh.  Grieving may include tears.  It may not.  What you need to do to process your grief may not be the same as other people.  It doesn’t mean it’s wrong (or right for that matter). As long as it’s not destructive/harmful, let people grieve the way they need to.

My grief over Grandma Price is different from what I went through with my other grandparents.  I don’t understand why it’s different.  I had moments of tears shed in private.  But, publicly, the emotions have been at peace.  My family, as individuals, are responding differently.  None of the responses are wrong. They’re different.  And that’s okay.

2 – Grief should be a place to visit and not to live. The death of my grandmother should not and cannot be allowed to rob me of the life I have left.  There is a season for everything, Within Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, we are told,

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die

I miss hearing the loud voice of Grandma speaking over the other family members because she couldn’t hear to well.  I’ll miss seeing her fall asleep in front of the TV.  But grief is not a place for me to stay.  It’s a season I must go through.  It’s a season that, in the world, is inevitable. But the promise we have in Christ is there is joy on the other side.  (Psalm 30:1-5).

3 – There are no magic words to make grief disappear.  I understand the scriptures.  I’ve studied them, preached them, counseled with them, and encouraged people with them.  They are a comfort in the midst of grief…but they don’t HIDE the grief.  The scriptures give me PERSPECTIVE through the grief.

God’s Word is more reliable than what my feelings. It gives me the vision I need to have when my emotions/feelings are everywhere.  I lean on the scriptures to help align my heart and mind with the promise of His presence.  Grief is the result of brokenness.  God is never so close to us as when we are in the place of brokenness (Psalm 34:18; Matthew 5:4).

4 – Life is short…embrace people.  Life is too brief to live in bitterness and anger.  I’ve heard it said,

“Bitterness is a like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.”

Drama is stupid.  I won’t play that game. Lingering on old issues, makes you, well, old.  Bitterness takes years off of your life and harden’s your heart.  It wears on your soul.  I’m convinced one of the greatest unsaid epidemics that is killing individuals, let alone families, is unforgiveness.  It’s time to move on and let go.  I’m thankful for the amazing wife, children, and family that has been a tremendous source of encouragement and strength (not just to me but to others).  I’ve seen family members step up during this difficult season and go above and beyond to be there for grandma.  They’re an amazing reminder: embrace people, shun the drama.

5 – The presence of Christ cannot be underestimated and/or replaced.  Life hurts.  Sometimes it just sucks. But he is Emmanuel, God WITH us. As stated on Sunday, he is not…

…God someday with us
…God sometimes with us
…God hopefully with us

His is WITH us.  Never abandoned.  Never alone.  I have moments of not sensing His presence and not hearing His voice. But those are not sufficient proofs that I have ever been alone.  Peace is recognizing the presence of God is with me regardless of what I feel or what I sense.  My joy isn’t built on the fault-line of my feelings.  It stable on the rock-solid foundation of who He is.

This Jesus is who Grandma Price trusted in.  This is who I’ve given my life to.  And He is the one who will lead us through and lead us forward.  Today I head into a service to honor her. But, even more importantly, I move forward into a life that honors the savior that she and I both live for.

I love you grandma.

Thanks for letting me ramble…

Missional opportunities for @kalamazoofirst

I love reading  blogs (most of which are on marriage and family).  Last week, I came across this blog post and knew I had to share it.  I know I could have easily retweeted it.  But I wanted to look for a way to give it a bit more emphasis as to not blend into the white noise that can be social networking.

I’ve always said, outreach is a journey, not an event.  It’s a way that we live and should be relegated to a once-in-a-while church-wide activity.  I wanted to share Tim Gaydos’, of Mars Hill, blog post about SIMPLE ways of being missional during the Christmas season.  Again, this is all Tim and not me.  Enjoy his great post.

Missional

As Christians, it’s so important that we look for missional opportunities with our friends, neighbors, colleagues, and family members as they are way more prone to engage in Jesus-friendly activities and conversation this time of the year than any other—by far! So, let’s pray and get after it!

Here’s the deal: People really love being invited to events, parties, and homes. There are so many opportunities happening in our respective cities through concerts, shows, plays, parties, and services that proclaim Jesus and would lead to natural conversation with those in your sphere of influence, let me give you just five.

1. INVITE PEOPLE TO A CHRISTMAS LIGHT SHOW

Every year, my wife and I invite friends to go with us to the The Lights of Christmas, which is put on by a Christian conference center just outside the Seattle area. There are many examples of Christ being proclaimed at this event, specifically a Nativity scene. There might not be another time where a non-Christian friend would go with you to a Christian conference center, but this is the time—who doesn’t love Christmas lights?!

2. GO TAKE IN HANDEL’S MESSIAH

One year, we took some non-Christian friends to Handel’sMessiah at the Seattle Symphony. No matter who you are, it’s impossible not to be blown away by the grandeur of this masterpiece. It was captivating, and the awe-inspiring nature of the Messiah gave us a chance to talk with our friends about the content of this piece, which led to an incredibly rich gospel conversation.

3. THROW A FUN, FESTIVE CHRISTMAS PARTY

Sweaters, white-elephant gift exchange, good food, good drinks—go BIG! Christmas is a great reason to engage the people God has placed in your life. Invite neighbors, co-workers, family, and friends. Make sure it’s not a Christian-only party. Make it a point to invite people into your home, to sit on your couch, drink from your cups. Show that you care and take a moment to introduce people to one another. Share the meaning of Christmas with them and the reason behind all that we are celebrating.

4. SERVE OTHERS

People are “naturally” charitable at Christmas. There are so many local opportunities to serve the least among us during the Christmas season, and both Christian and non-Christian alike see this as an opportunity to do good and love others by serving those who are less fortunate than they are. This is a great time to preach the gospel in word and deed as Jesus has commanded us and share about why Jesus is the most generous and charitable man who ever lived.

5. INVITE SOMEONE TO A CHURCH PLAY OR CHRISTMAS EVE SERVICE

Many churches put on incredible productions during the Christmas season. Also, Christmas Eve services are some of the most well-attended church services and is the absolute only time (or one of only two times) someone would willingly enter into a church. For many, going to church on Christmas isn’t weird, just what you’re supposed to do. Don’t miss this opportunity to invite someone to hear the real meaning of Christmas.

PRAY, THEN MAKE A PLAN

Right now, I want to ask you to take one minute and think about three people in your life that you would love the opportunity to share Jesus with.

Once you have those three people, pray for them and their hearts to know Jesus. After you have prayed for them, think about what event, service, party you could invite them to and call, text, email, Facebook or Twitter them.

Do it!

How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?

Romans 10:14