Small steps in faith

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Two Sisters....Busyness

These are my notes from the sermon Rob gave tonight at Apex.

Luke 10:38-42
This is a very convicting message. I think we all relate to the message of busyness and how damaging it can be to our faith.

Life can be like the roller coaster at Cedar Point. It goes from standing still takes off...and goes from 0 to 120 miles in 3 seconds. You say "What just happened?"
Many times we don't want to get back on.

"Busyness is a deeper threat to the soul than pornography"

The pace of our life leads to negative things.

Choleric..moxie,can't sit still,constantly busy

Sanguine...happy to be here

Context of the verse..Mary is at Jesus's feet taking on the role of a disciple
Women wouldn't do this at this time. They sat at the outskirts and kept busy serving.

The people who are to be at the feet of Jesus aren't the ones who are's all of us.
There is nothing wrong with work. He doesn't put Martha down for working..He puts her down for how she works.

Choosing serving over listening:

1 We become easily distracted. Too many things going through our head. It makes us withdraw from people because good relationships take time..and for those who are "busy".. relationships get in the way of activity

2 Easily irritated. We complain to God then tell him what he needs to do.
Workaholics..feel others don't work as hard as they do or like they do and they verbally "t-off" against them. They aren't the ones in the wrong...we are.

3 We become foolish in our priorities . Our wants and needs become the same. Our wick is short. We're tired.

When we understand that intimacy with Jesus is foundational to our serving we will:

1 Place ourselves in a position to hear yourself at Jesus's feet.
Going to a gathering for church doesn't count. It's the everyday thinking about God..being still and listening for his voice..talking to God...reading our Bibles.
We're afraid of this because we're afraid of what we will hear. We go on and on..we are broken and hide behind busyness.

Put yourself in a position of repentance.

2 Cultivate a discipline to ponder what we hear from Jesus. Soaking in his word. Our actions should show this.

3 Make hard choices for the greatest reward. Give God the best part..not the leftovers.
God sacrificed his Son..the best portion.

"How busy you are is determined by how many gods you have",etc.
There is only 1 God.

It's not the amt. of's the shows the true desires of our hearts.
Is God's glory the ground motive?

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Organic Weekend

I spent Fri eve,Sat am, and Sat eve absorbing a lot of information on how the organic church functions. The primary speaker for the weekend was Neil Cole who has written several book about the topic but is probably best known for his book "The Organic Church"
The other 2 speakers were Paul Kaak, a professor and organic gardener, and Ed Waken, a church planter from Phoenix, Arizona.
I'm going to try to give a brief summary of my notes for each session...things that stood out for me.

Friday night was Paul Kaak.
He gave basic foundation points for the organic church. He used his experience with organic gardening to give parallels to the church. He spent time going over the DNA of the church
D= Divine Truth..the dynamic and living presence of Christ and His Word.
N= Nurturing Relationships..Love for one another is to be a constant pursuit of the family of God.
A= Apostolic Mission..Our mission is to go into the world and disciple the nations for their good and God's glory.

He also focused on planting churches organically. When we plant seeds, our highest goal is the health and fertility of the land so that it will produce generation after generation of fruit-bearing plants.
1 Cultivation..preparing people and communities for the reception of the gospel
2 Sowing..implanting the gospel message into the lives of individuals and the cultures in which they live
3 Growing..reception of God's message and the sealing of the Holy Spirit. They connect with a cluster of believers or even grow into a new reproductive church.

Sat am was Ed Waken
His focus was on cultivating the soil of people's hearts.
In cultivation, many times you need to break up the need to deal with the obstacles such as sin, prior bad experiences with church,pride,etc.
He talked about Oikos a Greek word which is based on the idea of home for household.
It's finding those who God has put in our our neighborhoods,in our jobs,
It's the power of the small. It's discipling with 2 or 3 through accountability.
We need to look at the type of soil we are planting in..doing a soil analysis.
98% of western churches don't give birth to another church. Bad people make good soil
Good soil..bad people,poverty,young people,those in occult religions,uneducated,powerless,nobodies
Bad soil...wealthy,intellectual and highly educated,people of influence and power, high social status.

I wasn't able to attend the afternoon session because I had to work a health fair but I have the notes. It deals with Sowing the seed. Evangelism and how we share the gospel..through listening, through stories.

Sat night/Sun am messages was Neil Cole.
You can listen to this on the Apex podcast through iTunes this week

He used scripture 2 Timothy

He began by telling a story about his days as a lifeguard. He was able to save a life because he actually got off of his post and down into the ocean and got his feet wet.
We need to get out of our comfort zones and get our feet wet if we expect to be able to save others.

We all begin as a zygote.
We are transformed disciples who become leaders who start churches and begin a movement.
Jesus never talks about us starting churches. He says that He will build the church. We are to make disciples.
If you can't reproduce disciples you'll never produce leaders and with no leaders you will have no church and with no church there is no movement.

Last Words of a Dying Hero
Paul's words to Timothy
After all Paul has accomplished he is: short on time,cold,lonely,rejected, betrayed but he is successful in discipleship
Lifeguards learn from other lifeguards.
There needs to be multigenerational influence

Motivations of a lifesaving disciple


External natural..Pain,peer pressure,paycheck
Internal natural..Pride,pleasure
External spiritual..guilt,shame,fear
Internal spiritual...compassion for others,Revising from God

Internal spiritual is the fulfillment of the new covenant

Exhaling...tearing down..getting rid of sin to become a vessel of honor
Inhaling..equipping ;putting on the new...all scripture is inspired by God

Life Transformation Groups...2 or3..accountability

You can't make someone be need to look for the desperation in their eyes
Desperate people try to drown you in their need to give them something that floats...Jesus.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Honor..A fading virtue

These are my notes from the Apex sermon tonight. Worship was great...especially Hosanna.

Romans 12:9-13

We all have a "Messiah complex"

Better community that is Christ-centered has:

1. Sincere love (v. 9a) agape..without hypocrisy or a mask.
We love because He first loved us

2. Sharp sensitivity to sin (9b) Abhor=repugnant
There is a strong need to run to Christ

3. Culture of family (10a) ..not always a best friend but a brother/sister in Christ

4. Competition over giving honor (10b,13b)
Endangered virtue in church culture. Customer service. Praying for unbelievers. Putting others first

5. A hard work ethic that is inward and outward (v11)
Deep relationships take hard work. In the western world, we have superficial relationships
They need to be more face to face and not twitter,facebook,etc.
Come alongside each other

6. Responds well to adversity (v12)
Conflict in community can make people go deeper if handle the conflict well.

7. Engages in practical deeds of service (13a)

"It's really hard for unbelievers to believe we want them to go to heaven when we don't want them in our living room."

Biblical community is messy like gumbo but it is good.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

"The Friends We Keep..A Woman's Quest for the Soul of Friendship" by Sarah Zacharias Davis

When I first got the invitation to do this book tour blog..I hesitated. It's a book about friendships and women. I've had various friendships in my 49 yrs..male and female.
My female friendships are honestly a challenge many times. I've had very close friends such as my friend from high school, friends for a season such as friends in college, friends from church, and coworkers. Each friendship is very different and I think this book does an excellent job in describing the different friendships and their impact on the author's journey of life. I have stuggled with the friendships that went sour. She describes many of the same situations I have dealt with. Women, unfortunately, tend to have jealousy and competition issues. This has been my experience with my "friendships gone bad" and I don't have much tolerance for the mind games these women play. I think even these types of friendships teach us lessons.
My favorite chapter dealt with friends who are "light and mirrors. Many times we don't like certain characteristics in friends because it mirrors our own weaknesses. That's not an easy thing to recognize but in reading this chapter I realized she is right.
I would definitely recommend this book if you want better insight in how to relate to other women and develop strong friendships.

Author Bios:
Sarah Zacharias Davis is a senior advancement officer at Pepperdine University, having joined the university after working as vice president of marketing and development for Ravi Zacharias International Ministries and in strategic marketing for CNN. The daughter of best-selling writer Ravi Zacharias, Davis is the author of the critically-acclaimed Confessions from an Honest Wife and Transparent: Getting Honest About Who We are and Who We Want to Be. She graduated from Covenant College with a degree in education and lives in Los Angeles, California.

As part of this book blog I received a sample of a 6 wk bible study.It looks like a great tool to use with the women in my house church.

Summary for 40 Minute Bible Studies
The 40 Minute Bible Study series from beloved Bible teacher Kay Arthur and the teaching staff of Precept Ministries tackles important issues in brief, easy-to-grasp lessons you can use personally or for small-group discussion. Each book in the series includes six 40-minute studies designed to draw you into God’s Word through basic inductive Bible study. There are 16 titles in the series, with topics ranging from fasting and forgiveness to prayer and worship. With no homework required, everyone in the group can work through the lesson together at the same time. Let these respected Bible teachers lead you in a study that will transform your thinking—and your life.

Titles Include:
•The Essentials of Effective Prayer •Being a Disciple: Counting the Cost
•Building a Marriage That Really Works •Discovering What the Future Holds
•Forgiveness: Breaking the Power of the Past •Having a Real Relationship with God
•How Do You Walk the Walk and Talk the Talk? •Living a Life of Real Worship
•How to Make Choices You Won’t Regret •Living Victoriously in Difficult Times
•Money & Possessions: The Quest for Contentment •Rising to the Call of Leadership
•How Do You Know God’s Your Father? •Key Principles of Biblical Fasting
•A Man’s Strategy for Conquering Temptation •What Does the Bible Say About Sex?

To purchase either one of these books you can go here

Monday, August 10, 2009

"The Hope of Refuge" by Cindy Woodsmall

I spent this weekend reading this book and was surprised at how much I enjoyed it. In fact, I went to Borders and bought another one of her books to read.
This story is about an outsider or Englischer woman who feels drawn to come back to an area she knew only in dreams from her childhood. She is running to escape an abusive and hard life. What she finds, is a lifestyle very unlike her own, the Amish lifestyle and faith. She finds family, she finds friends, and she finds love but not without her struggles with finding her own faith. The characters in the story are very believable and I wouldn't be surprised if they are based on true lives somewhere. Even though they have a strict lifestyle and faith, they are full of the same feelings and needs and fears that we all experience. The Amish lifestyle is portrayed very honestly and accurately in each of the characters. The act of shunning is something I have never understood in the Amish faith and this story actually deals with that and how the consequences of our choices can sometimes be painful.
The author has strong connections to the Amish community. She was recently seen on ABC's Nightline and you can see the video here

Author Bio:
Cindy Woodsmall is the author of When the Heart Cries, When the Morning Comes, and The New York Times Best-Seller When the Soul Mends. Her ability to authentically capture the heart of her characters comes from her real-life connections with Amish Mennonite and Old Order Amish families. A mother of three sons and two daughters-in-law, Cindy lives in Georgia with her husband of thirty-one years.

To read one of Cindy Woodsmall's books you can go here to buy a copy

"A Fitting Conclusion"

These are my notes from Apex sermon yesterday
We are finishing Jude.

Jude 24-25

The heading in many bibles is Doxology.
Doxo = glory,fame
ogy = speaking

It ends with "Amen" = what is true;a bedrock belief; something you can bank your life on

Do we really believe what we pray?

We need to know how God understands himself

"To the only God" unique supremacy

glory = what God gives off

majesty, dominion, authority = attributes of God

What do those mean in our life?

Our heart should overflow with love of God because he keeps us standing the judgment when God pours out his wrath
He keeps us from over us in case of attack

We are able to make our stand because on the 3rd day Jesus stood.

He will present us as pure

He delights in this

Do you enjoy Jesus?
We try to get joy through our quality of our walk i.e. prayer,scripture,service. If you look will never find joy.

Jesus desires to enjoy you
Isaiah 62:4
Zephaniah 3:17
Psalm 147:11

At the end of the sermon Rob told the story called "The Ragman". I put a link here if you want to read it. We actually did a skit at Southwest on Easter a few years back based on this story.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Apex live...take a listen :)

Apex praise teams did a live worship event and made an album from that night which comes out Aug 22nd. If you go here you can listen to a sample of the songs. Many of the songs were written by Phil and other members of the team. They are awesome!

Monday, August 03, 2009

"First Things First"

This book intrigued me for many different reasons. I have admired Kurt Warner for his faith in the limelight of football. I find it fascinating that they have 7 kids and some sanity. I have read a book by Jennifer Schuchmann so when I saw she helped with this I knew the writing would be good.
I loved how they set the record straight from the beginning of their relationship to now.
So many times, you hear stories on how people meet,what their lives are like and this book gives you the facts from all sides.
Many times we glamorize other's lives and I think this book shows the hardships they endured to get where they are today. I also loved the rules they use for their family and how everyone is in tune to the rules. With 7 kids that can't be an easy task.
They describe each child in such detail that by the end of the book I felt as though I knew each one of them. I loved how they would give Kurt's story and Brenda's story in each of the chapters. They have differing views but they manage to mesh their views and respect the other's feelings. I think it's a good parenting book but also a good book on a successful marriage and what it takes to get to that point. Faith is a huge part of their lives and they never downplay that.
I would absolutely recommend this book for everyone..not just Kurt Warner fans :)