Note to Self (personal journals)

A word for our men…

2017-03-28T05:37:49+00:00 By |Discipleship, Note to Self|

Men, I want to thank you for attending our PUSHBACK retreat this past weekend.  As several men shared, God is doing something powerful at Restoration Road Church.  Our church is not perfect; we are never perfectly balanced; we are never wise enough to not be desperate. Despite our insufficiencies and weaknesses, God has blessed us with an amazing church full of amazing people. With every passing day, God reveals more leaders who are willing to serve and servants who are willing to lead. God has done all of this by His grace.  He has brought us all together onto the same field to be friends, brothers, and co-laborers for His glory and our joy.   Below are a few of my personal reflections from this weekend’s instruction. They are more like reminders of who we are in Christ... We are not selfish consumers.  We are selfless worshipers.  Jesus said it is better [...]

Re: Sermon | Stop Tooting Your Own Horn

2017-03-28T05:51:06+00:00 By |Note to Pastors, Note to Self, Re:Sermon|

Taken from Jesus on Self-Promotion | Matthew 6.1-4 “Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward." "Being noticed is not evil; but trying, expecting, or wanting to be noticed may be.  And this is where all of us live.  Our culture is all about being noticed for the good, bad, or weird thing you do.  While its unlikely you’ll post a YouTube video that will go viral, you can still try and get noticed by others on Facebook, or FAKEBOOK.  If Jesus were on earth today, I think instead he may have said “what comes out on Facebook proceeds from the heart.”  Of course, you don’t believe you’re on there to get noticed…but you are.  I will contend [...]

Words of Men: Dangerous Calling

2017-03-28T05:59:17+00:00 By |Note to Pastors, Note to Self|

In my pursuit of more joy this year, I have begun reading Dangerous Calling, by Paul David Tripp. From its very first pages, the book cuts like a knife--in a good way.  By God's grace, as I read this I am reflecting on where I was, not where I am.  So while this a book every pastor should be required reading for every to read, I doubt a pastor can really appreciate what is written until they are about 5-6 years into full-time-ministry--just enough time to come face to face with the reality of their weakness.  Perhaps I am speaking only for myself, but I believe that it takes some time for the pride-filled idealism to wear off (at least a little).  In other words, it takes several years for the pastor to start listening to his own preaching and come face to face with his idolatry.  This is also just about [...]

39 Years Down…

2017-03-28T05:59:08+00:00 By |Note to Self|

I turn 39 today.  As I was driving I heard “Forever Young” on the radio, an old 80’s tune. It made me think about the fact that most young people spend their years wishing they were older and most old people spend their years wishing they were younger.  Overall, no one is really satisfied with where they are at.  I want to be content at 39.  At the same time, I don’t want to be complacent.  I want to enjoy 39, but not remain as I am now.  I want to grow more, mature more, and learn more.  I want to become more compassionate, more loving, more peaceful, more patient, kinder, wiser, and healthier (in every sense of the word).  The goal is not perfection, for that is not possible in this life.  The goal is simply to look more like Jesus for whatever number of years or days God [...]

Only Pain will Tell

2017-03-28T06:02:00+00:00 By |Note to Pastors, Note to Self|

In my pursuit of joy during 2013, I have been spending the better part of January in the book of Philippians.  Ironically, though Paul is writing from within Roman imprisonment, this letter is full of expressions of joy.  It is a convicting read.This morning I am reading Philippians 1.12-18.  Throughout these verses, Paul expresses his joy over the fact that Christ is proclaimed.  This is his greatest motivation for his own life and greatest hope for the lives of others. As I sit here, I am forced to consider whether this is truly my greatest motivation. If Paul is any example, it seems as if PAIN, not time, will tell.Paul is imprisoned, Paul is suffering, and even it is not “hard”, it is probably not what anyone would envision as the path to gospel advancement.  But, surprisingly, Paul tells his recipients that his imprisonment has resulted in just that--it has [...]

The Uncomfortable Call

2017-03-28T06:10:32+00:00 By |Church Plant 101, Note to Pastors, Note to Self|

This past week at the men's retreat, we learned a lot about call and being "on mission."   We learned that every Christian has a calling, a gift, and a place to begin "going", whether that be in our home, our church, or our "work" (everything else).  I was reminded yesterday, listening to an excellent sermon by Tim Keller, that going on a "radical"  mission with God is safer than being comfortable without him.  But a call to be "RADICAL" will look different for all of us.  The one consistent theme amongst all of our missions, however, is that they will always include a call to LEAVE whatever makes us SECURE and to GO without understanding how everything will work out.  It is a call to walk a path where our only confidence is that Jesus has said, "follow me.".  I would encourage everyone to listen to Keller's sermon.  It is [...]

Weeping to the Glory of God

2017-03-28T06:09:55+00:00 By |Discipleship, Note to Self|

32 Now when Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet, saying to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” 33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled. 34 And he said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.” 35 Jesus wept. 36 So the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” 37 But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man also have kept this man from dying?” 38 Then Jesus, deeply moved again, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it. 39 Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, “Lord, by this time there will be an odor, [...]

Am I a Christian? A simple “self”-test from 1John.

2017-03-28T06:09:46+00:00 By |Note to Self|

1JOHN 1 TEST v. 6 – 7 Do you walk in the light or the darkness? If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin. V.8 -9 Do you believe you are a sinner? if we say we have no Sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. 1JOHN 2 TEST V.3 -5 Do you keep his commandments? And by this we know that WE (not YOU) [...]

For Freedom Christ set us free…for free

2017-03-28T06:13:03+00:00 By |Discipleship, Note to Self|

So, there are a lot of things that Christianity has become defined as...and as I have talked to different people, I have learned one thing that it IS NOT understood as, one thing that all of those TV shows, individuals and churches have in common, is that for some reason, people do not see that the gospel of Jesus Christ is FREEING.   They see religion.  They see control.  They see oppression.  The concept of being set free is, in many ways, the last thing that comes to mind for non-believers—and perhaps even a lot of believers.  Regardless of the truth, regardless of what the Bible teaches, regardless of what Jesus’ himself taught, for some reason, Christianity is viewed as something designed to restrain their happiness; and the church  as the great moralistic prison that people actually choose to enroll in.  And yet, nothing could be further from the truth. Though the Bible has much to [...]

There is no such thing as a FAITH-CATION

2017-03-28T06:14:20+00:00 By |Discipleship, Note to Self|

As the 3-day memorial day weekend looms, the mind of a pastor can often wander into places that are not healthy. The unending flow of twitter updates and Facebook posts praising various vacation destinations, Instagram photos of amusement park rides they're about to go on, and an inbox full of forgetful folks requesting "subs" to fill spots on Sunday serve only to further deepen the anxiety.  This is certainly not a healthy place for a pastor to live--but it is a realistic one for those leading the family of families called the church.   Imagine  the preacher, the band, the teachers, the coffee makers, as "hosts" of a grand dinner.  With great anticipation, they do all the prep work show up early, only to realize that his guests decided to order pizza and stay home or get fast food on the way out-of-town.  The hosts would find themselves staring out the [...]