Monday, September 22, 2008

Been a While

Hello to all three people that might read this. Hope your day is going well today and may this blog give you food for thought. It is 7:08p.m. and i am sitting at McDonald's in Carterville just thinking about the book of John and the text from last night out of John 3 and John 4. John the evangelist makes a great quote in chapter three that declares his deep desire that Christ would increase and he would decrease. What does that mean?
Sometimes we want to make the bible harder than it really is. Not only do we make the bible harder that it is but we make following Jesus harder than it really is. I believe that Johns quote is so simple yet so transforming and it addressees a common problem that has forever existed. That problem is the deep matrix of self. Following Jesus becomes difficult when we believe that salvation is birthed and sustained by the power of self. I hope that we can truly know that simple truth of propitiation and adoption, that Christ took the wrath that we deserve and adopted helpless people for Himself. Sometimes i wonder if we really know that we who are called by God get the righteousness of Jesus credited to us. We get the credit for Christ perfect life!
Do we not know our own insurgencies? Some of us might be Nic from chapter three and some might find ourselves more like the woman in chapter 4, but may we know that both of those people stood condemned and in need of help outside of themselves. Boast and proclaim the work of Jesus and by all means let us not glorify self. So may all of you that might read this sit back and say "Christ increase, self decrease"

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Grace for Obediance

Hello all,
Lets go. The bible is clear that graces gives a frame of reference for obedience. At first glance people can come to the conclusion that Future Grace for sins not yet committed just gives fuel to the fire for a life of sin. How radical a God that He would save and that pre-approval would draw those approved right in His footsteps. Grace and security for tomorrow has so saturated peoples soul that there is nearly an unquenchable desire for obedience. Without sustaining future grace can we actually be obedient in a healthy way? Some would say that humanity's standing with God is all based on us asking for forgiveness and wondering if we have forgotten any sin that we might have done today. Obedience then becomes vain repetition and dirty legalism based on self rather than Christ. The stamp of forgiveness of Christ finished work, securing those that are found in Him is simply the only healthy fuel for obedience. So then what does obedience look like? Live the great commission and throw your live into Gods hands. Do we trust Him or not? Trust God, be obedient. Your soul longs for that! Does it not?

Right now take a moment and ask; "What does obedience look like in my life right now?" We know our areas of disobedience. Trust Him! Trust Him! Trust Him!

Friday, July 4, 2008

One Life One Chance!

Hello to all who love Jesus and the few that might read this that have not yet experienced, or who may never experience, this hope and purpose that Christ has formed in the souls of those whose hearts He has renewed. We are closing out on our study of Ecclesiastes and are only a few more weeks away from moving into the Gospel of John. It has been such a joy to be with you all on Sunday nights and an honor to know that we are on mission together through the week. This Sunday we are going to be talking about the one life that we have to live. Solomon is going to tell us that after we die it is to late to make right what we have messed up while we were alive. John Piper has a book that is called "Don't Waste Your Life", in that book he talks about a quote that he remembers being in his home when he was a kid. This quote read "Only one Life, twill soon will be pass, only whats done for Christ will last". It is the cry of my heart for the people of the journey and the church as a whole that we would be so ravaged by the love and joy of Christ that we would live and breath every moment for the purposes of Christ. Read 2 Cor. 3 the first part of that chapter and plead with God that this be burned in our souls. To my generation and to all generations i pray that you would hear the screams of Christ, looking deep into your hearts and handing over to you purpose and meaning. Read Ecc chapter 9 and we will talk Sunday night.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Hello

Everywhere i have gone over the last couple of years there seems to be a common theme with everyone that i have talked and meet with. The acts 2 church model and dream has been around forever i guess, but in the last ten or so years with the lack of real community anywhere, there seems to have been much more emphasis on acts 2. So thats is all our age talks about. "Lets get back to what the early church was all about!" Everyone wants to be just like acts 2, with the exception of living together in close quarters. Remember the great word "Balance" that everyone throws around for any conversation that seems to not be going the way we want. Anyways, this blog can be a good way to be acts 2 like. Be encouraged that right know wherever you are, whatever you are doing, be a part of Gods will (2 Cor. 5:18-21). I might not see all of you today or break bread with you but with can still encourage daily this being one avenue to do that. Encouage another believer today. Pray for an unbeliever today. See you all Sunday. J Sparks! Holla
video

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Mexico/Del Rio Last Day

video
Well i am hanging in Super 8 in Hope Arkansas on the way back home from our Mexico trip. This was such an eye opening experiance that i hope many more can have. Roger is planning another trip down here in October. I hope that we can bring a team down here. I knew that this would be an incredible experiance and it definitely was. There is so much need here, and the people are awesome. Everyone who comes with fall in love with these people and this place. Come Sunday evening i will be sharing a little bit more.

p.s. Missed everyone tonight.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Mexico Day 2


Incredible day. I saw a lot of things that shook me up a lot. One quick highlight challenge from the day. We visited an orphanage today that has an empty fridge. They told us that 60 dollars a week would provide them with food for the 17 kids that are staying there. They are getting only 20 dollars of food a week and simply trusting God to provide for what they need. I will have spent almost 100 dollars on food on this trip alone! We can help!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Del Rio/Mexico Day 1

Del Rio/Mexico Day 1

Well we finally rolled into Del Rio today after about a 19 hour drive. Already in just a day and a half I have been blown away. We went into a city on the state side today that has an average family income of 7 thousand dollars a year. These are the types of places that the present day heroes of the faith live and work. The people investing there lives here will never get asked to speak at the conferences or retreats, but are fully invested in the great commission.

Payer for the day
The Staff at Cornerstone Children's Home need help and have no one to help. They are tired and need a break. Pray for strength and that God would send people here to help. There are many many forgotten children and people in this area.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Jesus, Community, Demand of the call, Rest

Last Sunday night our Ecclesiastes study lead us to Mark chapter 6. Mark 6 tells us of how Jesus gives authority to the 12 and sends them out without all the things that would typically be needed for a trip. Jesus sends them off but with no resources. If I was one of the 12 the first thing that would have gone through my head after Jesus told us we were being sent, was that I need to go pack my north face as tight as possible with plenty of underwear, socks and money, with maybe a power bar in the front zipper pocket. But Jesus does not tell them to do what I would think would be obvious. He tells them to take no bag, no money and take no extra tunic. What a call, and what a promise that Jesus would send them with nothing but a staff. Well as the chapter unfolds we fine that they were provided for on the journey and returned safely. I can only imagine how tired they must have been after such a long grueling trip. I know that when I get back from vacation all I want to do is hug my pillow for about 16 straight hours. The crazy thing is that the 12 get no relief upon return. They come back to large needy crowds that were so demanding that they could not even eat. They were surrounded like dead meat by vultures. Can you put yourself there. The frustration that they must of felt when Jesus brings up the thought that the 5 thousand deep crowd had grumbling stomachs. The 12 just wanted rest so they suggested that Jesus would send them home to get some food then they could finally wind down from there long trip. Jesus however tells the 12 “You give them something to eat.” The 12 must have been at a loss of words, just wanting some rest. This is when Jesus steps up and provides. Jesus works a miracle with five fish and two loaves and uses the 12 to help distribute.

This has so many implications of the source of true rest. True rest can be experienced in the midst of the needy sucking the life out of us or the busyness of a job and family. The 12 had each other and they had Jesus as there provider. With our faith tuned deeply into the saving grace of God through Jesus we can find rest in Jesus and the community of 12. The twelve saw something incredible that day. We to must see that Jesus is providing.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Purpose

I was talking to my mom the other about sound doctrine, and its importance. We talked about how 40 years ago the church was very much about rules and how Christians are not supposed to go to movies or play cards. When that generations kids got tired of the stupid rules they began to move away from that, and step into more "feeling God/personal relationship" style of worship meetings. So in the late 60s through the early 80s there mere massive amounts of church plants that moved away from the legalism and out of denominations into non-denominational charismatic s and philosophies. This had some positive and negative results that we are now seeing today. The product of this move was that there was a huge emphasis on worship and personal relationship through prayer and worship, but in most cases the sound doctrine of the bible was tossed aside. The result is our generation that wants to experience God and feel God but we don't really "Know" God. We grew up wanting good songs and couldnt wait to get hearing the bible so we can get back to the important stuff (Singing songs for 5 hours) We want to "Feel" God but since that is not sustaining we try to find ultimate purpose and meaning in the joy of a new cell phone or hanging more popular friends. My prayer for our generation and all generations is that we would "Know" the God of the bible and that we would find our purpose and meaning in Jesus. Feeling God without knowing the bible is not sustaining because we will devise our own understanding of who we think this god we "feel" is, but when the weight life kicks us in the chest we are left wanting.
So study the Word and join us in our study of Ecclesiastes to see if there is anything apart from Christ that is of any lasting value or meaning. Is all life vanity? Is there purpose to be found? Is there more than just "feeling" God?

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Quotes

Our status with God is not based on our performance.

"Others" William Booth

Stop seeking Christianity! Start seeking Christ!

Missions is less about transportation of God from one place to another and more about the identification of a God who is already there. "Rob Bell"

Sometimes loneliness is the price you pay now for satisfaction later "Neil McClendon"

I hope i can get to a place where i see everyone better than myself.

From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it. Matthew 11:12

You can tell the effectiveness of a minister by the countenance of his wife.

How priceless is Your unfailing love. Both high and low among men find refuge in the shadow of Your wings. Psalms 36:7

Its hard to imagine the Jesus would endure the agony of the cross just to keep us in line."Erwin McManus"

I am tired of being good at things that dont matter. "Ray Maragni"

Jesus is being lost in a religion bearing His name. "Erwin McManus"

The call of Christ is a simple one. Jesus told all who would listen "follow me". He didn't say what to bring or where the destination was, just "Follow Me"