2-Minute Devo Series: Part 2 #Israel2015

Thanks for joining us for our 2-minute devo journey while we’re in Israel.  Take the time to read to the passage of the day and spend some time afterwards in prayer.

Today’s Passage: Luke 2:8-10

And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear.  And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.

Spectator Church

I do my normal Monday thing.  Well before the office opens, I sit in a undisclosed coffeehouse location and pen out messages (my fancy way of saying “I type out sermons on my computer”). I find myself reflecting on yesterday’s message points by Ron Maddux:

Out of context of the story of his life, these seem like very simple points.  But to hear his testimony…to catch his passion for the lost…yesterday’s message continues to impact me to my very soul.  You need to understand: I came out of a week of talking with missionaries about future missions trips, conversing pastor’s pursuing their calling, and seeing people reaching out to those who are hurting.  Sunday was the “icing on the cake.” I am so passionate for people to hear the Gospel (the good news of hope in Christ in the midst of our hopelessness) and yesterday just fed the flame.

I learned something years ago:  church is not a spectator sport. (Yes I know it’s not a “sport” per se but bear with me.) But I’m afraid we’ve made the american “church” into nothing more than what I do during football season on Sunday afternoons in front of the TV.

I watch my team.
I get excited.
I’m proud to be a fan of my team (for the first time in a long time).
I post it on social media.
Then I walk away and go about my life.

A spectator. A fan.

Aaaaaaaaand that can sum up the life of a church attender.  I will support my team/church on Sunday.  I’ll enjoy it IF the outcome of the game/service is what I think it should be.  I might even tweet/facebook post about it.

But that’s it.

Have we spent so much time going to church that we forget we ARE the church? We fight for traditions of what takes place in a building we call the “church” and don’t fight for the traditions of BEING the church.  The early church was radiant with the Gospel.  The “Good News” was so good they couldn’t keep it to themselves.  Grace was so rich to taste that they didn’t want to be the only ones consuming it.  Everything about the early church seemed to smack against being a spectator.  Everyone was involved.  It wasn’t about getting “my” church experience. It was about being a “city set on a hill” (Matthew 5:14) so that others could experience the indescribable grace of God.

This is what this month is about at Kfirst.  It’s about moving us from being the spectator into engaging the world around us.  We’re asking you to engage in 3 ways:

Reach final

  1. Reach our community.  Sign up to serve the week of November 17 in our “Serve All” week.  Put hands and feet to your faith.
  2. Reach Ethiopia with clean water.  We’re partnering with Life Water to drill a well and provide clean water to a community in desperate need.   Every time we gather in November, we’re going to take time to give so that we can provide people with water and communicate the love of Jesus.
  3. Reach the world. Starting next week, we’re going to challenge you to make a commitment to reaching our world by partnering with us and our 84 missionaries/ministries to make it simple for people to find and follow Jesus.

It’s time to get out of the stands in the stadium and get on the field.  Jesus didn’t come out of the tomb so that you can be housed safely in your church buildings.  You are a missionary.  You are an ambassador of the Kingdom. It’s time to engage with world around you with the love of Jesus that has transformed your life.  If you have freely received…

…it’s time to freely reach.

We’ll see you on Sunday.

Thank for letting me ramble…

 

Come down from the “Mountain”

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After two days of running hills here in Omaha and praying over our next series at Kfirst…thoughts have been stirring.

Mountain top

How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of the messenger who brings good news, the good news of peace and salvation, the news that the God of Israel reigns! Isaiah 52:7

Growing up in church, there is a term we used over and over.

“Mountain-top experiences.”

I’m a pentecostal. I believe in the fullness of the Holy Spirit (gifts, fruit, ministry). I used that term “Mountain-top experiences” for those moments where it seemed like the presence of God is so thick around me.  It was as if a fog  rolled into and around my life and I had this greater awareness of His presence.  Those “mountain top experiences” are what we had sought at Sunday evening altars. I felt the call of ministry on my life there. I receive healing there. I remember moments of praying with friends.  I remember hearing my parents interceding over me. Those moments made me want more.

I remember time in church where we would sing and pray, desiring to be in “that place” with God.  We wanted revival.  In retrospect, I wonder if we should’ve stopped using that word and replaced it with the word “renewal.”  Why? Revival gives the connotation that something that is dead is being back to life. I really don’t remember people coming to Christ during those services.  What I do remember is being at an altar with my church family praying and seeking His face.  There is nothing wrong with that and I have great memories of those days. Like Moses going to the mountain of God, we were determined to seek Him and be consumed with his love and his presence.

Mountain tops are great moments.  They will transform your life. There are so many spiritual truths to grasp from from those that have the climbed amazing peaks of our world. From the mountain top, you’ll get new perspectives, views of unfathomable beauty, and experiences that will mark your life. I have dreamt of one day climbing some mountains and experiencing some opportunities that I have only seen on Discovery channel. Truth be told, mountain tops are great places to experience, but they are not supposed to be the place were we live.

I have a growing concern that the Church wants not only the “mountain top experience” but wants to live there. As nice as that my sound, it’s not where we belong. We want that Moses experience of being hid in the cleft of the rock to let the glory of God pass before us (Exodus 33:12-23).  We enjoy the sensation of services of unending worship and unyielding prayer (I don’t know what we limit worship and prayer to a church experience). But mountain tops were not meant to sustain life. Again, it’s not where we are supposed to live.

The mountain is a place were we are a recipient and an alien. It is a place to temporarily meet and receive. Jesus didn’t send us to the mountain. He releases us to the valley. Moses went up to the mountain to receive and bring down to Israel what he was given from the Lord. Even in Acts, they were in the upper (mountain) room and received in order to go into the world (valley).  The valley is where life happens.  The valley is where everyone lives.  But we, the Church, make it sound like living in the valley is a dark time in a person’s life.  But if we’ve received from the Lord on the mountain, we then illuminate the valley with that which we have been imparted with.

Isaiah describes beautiful feet.  They are not of those who live on high and have no connection with the valley below.  Beautiful feet are possessed by beautiful people who “bring” the Gospel (Good news) to the world. They don’t shout it from the mountain hoping others can hear what they are saying.  They don’t send out a random tweet/facebook status hoping the masses will catch the message.  They “bring” (Hebrew for announce, bear tidings, show forth, publish) news of peace and salvation.  They bring the declaration “God reigns!”

John 1:14 says “and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.”  We start a holiday season celebrating the One that came with beautiful feet, dwelling among us, full of grace and truth.  We honor Immanuel (Christ with us). The one that came from on high to be the light in our darkness.

It’s time for the church to model the Son.

It’s time for the church to leave the mountain.

You’ve richly received from God.

It’s time to illuminate the valley.

Make your feel beautiful by be a messenger of illumination to the valley around you. Speak the good news of peace and salvation.  Proclaim “God reigns!”

Thanks for letting me ramble on vacation…

New 2 Minute Devo Series: Resurrecting Repentance

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October is our journey through the 2 minute series called “Resurrecting Repentance”.  It’s as simple as viewing the vlog and reading the passage for the day.  Today’s passage is Mark 1:14-28:

Mark 1:14-28

14 Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, 15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”

16 Passing alongside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew the brother of Simon casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. 17 And Jesus said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.”[a] 18 And immediately they left their nets and followed him.19 And going on a little farther, he saw James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, who were in their boat mending the nets. 20 And immediately he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants and followed him.

21 And they went into Capernaum, and immediately on the Sabbath he entered the synagogue and was teaching. 22 And they were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one who had authority, and not as the scribes. 23 And immediately there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit. And he cried out, 24 “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God.” 25 But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!” 26 And the unclean spirit, convulsing him andcrying out with a loud voice, came out of him. 27 And they were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, “What is this? A new teaching with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him.” 28 And at once his fame spread everywhere throughout all the surrounding region of Galilee.