Jesus Really

Posted: March 27, 2015 in Uncategorized

Teen Mania hosts Acquire the Fire youth conferences all over the country. Echo Student Ministries recently attended ATF 2015. The theme was RESILIENT-to bounce back stronger. Last night at our weekly youth service, we realized the Jesus defied ALL odds and became the ultimate example of RESILIENT, when HE bounced back from death. Jesus bounced back and continued to change the world. Love Him or not, believe Him or not, accept Him or not….Jesus Christ has singlehandedly changed our world. He continues to bring life change today. And as a Christian, I choose to accept the Bible as absolute truth. So…the power that enabled Jesus to bounce back from death, is available for you and me to bounce back from whatever has hindered (or is still hindering) us. 

Acts 2:22-24 People of Israel, listen…you nailed him [Jesus] to the cross and murdered him. However, God released him from the horrors of death and raised him back to life again, for death could not keep him in its grip.

1. Jesus really DIED…for the sins of the world

2. Jesus was really BURIED [day 1 dead; day 2 dead; day 3…boom]

3. Jesus really RESURRECTED 

#Jesusbouncedback

Basic Math

Posted: March 23, 2015 in Uncategorized

We all learned at an early age our basic math formulas, equations and symbols. We know at + means adding things together, – is minus or taking away something, = is the equals sign representing the result of solving a math problem. Then we got into things like multiplication, shown by an “x”, division “/”, etc. We also learned about greater than and less than, > <, respectively. 

While we will look at all of these, today I just want to focus on >. Put simply, HE > me, meaning that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit (trinity) is ALWAYS greater than I am. He is greater than my plans, thoughts and ideas about life. He is greater than my biggest problem, addiction, habit, enemy, issue or hurt. HE IS GREATER THAN…anything I face. The problem is that I try to face things alone. And when I/we do that, I/we are behaving as if we > He. And we’re not. Plain and simple. As a matter of fact, I prefer HE > me. Once you learn that formula, you can put anything after the “>” sign and it will ALWAYS = the best plan. So, to review:

HE + 0 > me = best plan for my life!

Welcome to 2015! You somehow survived 2014….for the most part.

OK, how many of you MADE New Year’s resolutions?
What kind of resolutions did you make? weight loss, working out, reading Bible, stop doing something, start doing something.
In the last 7 days…how many of you have already BROKEN your New Year’s resolution?

Well, let’s look back on 2014 a little bit, shall we?
The year that it was … lots of things happened in the year that is now referred to as “LAST YEAR”.
And it seems like when January 1 comes around, we call get a chance to RESET. “Last year” is gone. The current year is just starting. Things seem fresh.
 
Year 2014 – Music/Entertainment/Celebrity/Hollywood Info
New Dance Craze? – “Nae Nae”
Actor Philip Seymour Hoffman Dies
Jay Leno Leaves “Tonight Show” For Last Time 
Jimmy Fallon Debuts On Tonight Show
Colbert Named To Replace David Letterman Next Year
Viral Video Of The Year (So Far) – Cat Saves Boy!
Barbara Walters Retires
Michael Jackson Performs Again (Hologram)
Kanye West & Kim Kardashian Marry
Actor James Garner Passes At 86
Sharknado 2 – Bigger Ratings Than Predecessor
Lady Gaga In Oxygen Mask Photo
Comedian/Actor Robin Williams Dead At 63
Trend Of The Year – Ice Water Bucket Challenge
Legendary Comedian Joan Rivers Dies
George Clooney Gets Married
Bill Cosby Shut Down
 
Year 2014 In News Headlines And Information
Colorado Begins Selling Pot Legally In Shops 
California In Drought
Winter Storms Pounds Georgia – Then Northeast
Another Fort Hood Shooting Rampage
Providence Circus Accident
Turkey Mining Accident Kills Hundreds
Bounce House Tossed In Wind With Children
Militants Take Two More Cities In Iraq
ISIS Terrorists Much Bolder
Ebola Outbreak Strengthens
Two Police Officers Gunned Down In New York City
Another Asian Airliner Disaster
 
Year 2014  In Technology News And Information 
Facebook Buys “WhatsApp” For $16 Billion
Samsung Launches S5 Smartphone
Xbox Declared A Spy Tool By British Authorities
Google Glasses For Everyone
Flappy Bird Returns
Google Comes Out With “Right To Be Forgotten” Form
Amazon Launches Smartphone
Internet Slows Down Due To Outdated Routers
Apple Launches iPhone 6
 
Year 2014 In Sports News And Other Fascinating Facts
Winter Olympics/Sochi Games Begin
Sochi Games End – Medal Count
Washington Redskins Name Can No Longer Be Trademarked
NASCAR Champ Tony Stewart Hits/Kills Driver During Race
Yankee Derek Jeter Retires

That’s a ton of stuff that happened last year. Some of it was good. Some of it was bad, somethings were stupid.

When I was reflecting on 2014 this past week, I started to think about the fun memories with my friends, and the death of my dad, the good times and difficult times, the challenges and successes and failures. We’ve all had our share of them.
I think about journeys and adventures I got to take with friends and family. And I think about the scars that sometimes leave their mark on us each year, too.

How you view last year, this year and the rest of your life depends on your attitude and perspective. Everyone of us here tonight sees life from where we are.
Picture

Tonight, my hope is to challenge you to have your best year ever. I guessing that this year you will probably laugh a ton, take lots of selfies… and, let’s be honest, you’re going to get hurt somewhere along the way. That’s normal.

I want to ask you to do something that might seem a little different. I want to ask you to dream about being different. To consider seriously what it might look like in your life if you became a standout.

New York Times bestselling author Bob Goff puts it this way: No on ever aims to be typical. As some point, most people vow to themselves, when they are about your age not to be typical. But for some reason still, most people just kind of loop back to the safe place of being normal. Year after year… resolutions pass… and people become the same person they were at the start of the previous year… normal.

For the next 3 weeks, we’re going to look at 3 ways that I’ve learned how to be different. I stole these from the Bible.
Would you take this challenge with me? To escape from being typical.

3 Ways to Have the Best Year Ever

<> Start the New Year with forgiveness

When you don’t forgive it’s like you go to prison and find that the prison only has one inmate there… it’s you.
The lack of forgiveness chains you to a normal life and keeps you living beneath the life God created you to live.

Maybe it’s a family member, a best friend, a coach, a teacher, whoever – but if you want to have a great new year, I want to challenge you to follow the teachings of Jesus and actually let go of some of the hurt someone has caused you.

When I said the words “forgive someone” chances are that person popped into your head immediately. You know who I’m talking about.

It’s that person you love to hate, that person you still check in on them on Instagram every so often just to compare their Friday night and friends to yours. You won’t forgive them, and you don’t like them so much that you won’t even forgive the ones who liked their Instagram pictures. That lack of forgiveness has its grip on you.

If you have resentment in your heart, you quietly stalk them and hate them and pray that 2015 is the worst year ever for them.

Let me show you what Jesus says:

But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too. Mark 11:25-26

Notice in the very own words of Jesus it says to “first forgive.” In the second half of the verse it says, “so that your Father will.” Jesus—the greatest to ever live—says you need to forgive that person first… and then God will show you the same forgiveness. It’s so radical. That’s Jesus… not boring… but radical, revolutionary, ready to give you a great new year.
*first forgive…so that…
Jesus is saying that in order to get forgiveness we so badly need from God… we must FIRST forgive. Maybe write those words off to the side: FIRST FORGIVE. So if you want to have the best year ever, you HAVE to forgive.

I’m not going to pretend this is going to be easy. Jesus never said it’s going to be easy, but it’s necessary to move forward.
I know way too many adults who lost their relationship with their parents as a teenager. They never got it back. They lived in the prison of un-forgiveness too long. What a terrible way to live. What a huge thing to give up—your relationship with parents–because of a grudge.

Don’t allow that person to be you! Let me give you a new years relationship to consider. I know that’s weird… you can give me one if you want… I’m already planning on getting thinner… so you, might want to think of something else for me… like be less sexy. I’ll try.

Here’s what I want for you…

2015 NEW YEARS RESOLUTION: Repair relationships

Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. Ephesians 4:31-32

Not easy… so important to having a great new year.

Love is…

Posted: May 15, 2014 in Uncategorized
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Every year in our youth ministry, beginning in February, we have a series of messages on “Love”. We used to call it the “Month of Love” series. But it almost always goes longer than a month. It usually involves lessons on sexual purity, saving yourself for your spouse…things like that. But, the Lord was very clear to me this year and I felt like; “sexual purity won’t matter, if the basics of real love are absent from someone’s life”. You will not want to “save yourself for your spouse” if you are “patient, kind, selfless” and aren’t “rude, selfish, etc.”. I think you get the idea. The next several posts will be taken from the my notes of those messages. 

Since this series is taking longer than a month, several of my student leaders would not allow me to call it the “month of love”. So, this is the “Season of Love” series. We going to take apart 1 Corinthians 13 and learn to  “Love Like JESUS”. 

One little word… “PATIENT”…. makes all the difference.

1 Corinthians 13:4 Love is PATIENT! Being patient is like a person who is able to avenge him or herself yet refrains from doing so.

“Let God be the reason you do what you do. Let His love be the reason you act the way You act.”

REAL LOVE does not ever give up! 

Nehemiah 9:30  “In Your love, You were PATIENT with them for many years…”

1 Corinthians 13:1-4  If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body [a]to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.

 

4 Love is patient, LOVE IS KIND…

 

Tonight: LOVE IS KIND…ARE YOU?

Mark Twain said; “Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.”

Kind: good-natured; giving; loving; gentle; compassionate; having a desire to do good toward others.

Antonym: CRUEL

Mother Teresa: “Let us more and more insist on raising funds of love, of kindness, of understanding, of peace. Money will come if we seek first the Kingdom of God – the rest will be given.”

Princess Diana: “Carry out a random act of kindness, with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you.”

Unknown: “No act of kindness, no matter how small is ever wasted.”

As you and I learn to LOVE LIKE JESUS… we have to ask ourselves some questions. Because scripture is VERY CLEAR about how to love. And if you NEVER stop to study or ask about HOW TO LOVE…you won’t learn…and you won’t know. So…why do we find it easier to be UNKIND to people around us than to take the few seconds it would take to show just a little KINDNESS toward someone…anyone. Because, you see…I believe that EVERYONE needs a little kindness.

 

LOVE IS KIND!

We call ourselves Christians…which literally means “little Christs”, yet we treat each other in unChristlike ways.

We make jokes at the expense of other people.

We say unkind things and the feelings of others…

James 3:7-12   7 People can tame all kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and fish, 8 but no one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison. 9 Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God. 10 And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right! 11 Does a spring of water bubble out with both fresh water and bitter water? 12 Does a fig tree produce olives, or a grapevine produce figs? No, and you can’t draw fresh water from a salty spring.

We throw sarcasm around like it does not harm. If you find yourself using a phrase like; “I was just kidding…” alot; you may need to check your motive.

And then honest with yourself. What if someone said that to me? Ask yourself that question and then ask this; Will it really hurt me to be kind to ___________________? You fill in the blank. Seriously.

1 Corinthians 16:14 Let ALL that you do be done in love.

Why not take a minute (or 30) and think about some things that “ALL” could represent in YOUR LIFE!

1 Corinthians 13:4 “…LOVE IS KIND…”

 

Love does stuff

Posted: April 11, 2014 in Uncategorized

As youth pastor for Echo Student Ministries, our team and I really try to communicate God’s love to a “love deficient” generation. We’re in the middle of a series called the “Season of Love-Love Like Jesus”. After all the words have been said…real love MUST BE EXPRESSED! Love is more than the 3 short words, “I love you”. It’s way more about HOW you love! So…today…choose love. And remember the “love is not selfish”!

Have we really sacrificed anything?

Posted: March 26, 2014 in general

As Christians, we talk alot about “sacrifice”. We bring a “sacrifice of praise”. We “sacrifice” offerings in church. We “sacrifice” our personal desires for God’s plan for our life. Here’s a definition of sacrifice: to surrender or give up. It usually has a negative connotation to it. We are giving something up. But here’s the question I’ll leave you with today. And it’s a question I found very challenging as I read “All In” by Mark Batterson. And the way I put it is loosely paraphrased from Mark’s original. Here it is: As a Christian, have we really sacrificed anything; when what we receive in return is so much better than anything we could possibly “give up”? We are a spoiled nation and a spoiled body of Christ. We are called to be the bride of Christ! Let’s start acting like it!

The Inverted Gospel

Posted: February 27, 2014 in general
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Reading a book by Mark Batterson called “All In”. He cautions the church about the fact we are presenting an inverted version of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We’ve asked Him to follow us, instead of us following Him. I see that in my own life sometimes and believe that Mark is on to something. We speak, treat others, behave in ways that are completely contrary to God’s word and then blame God because our life isn’t “turning out” like we hoped it would. God forgive us! How dare we (myself included) refuse to follow our Lord Jesus and then be critical of and question His very nature because we won’t simply give up our rights and LIVE FOR HIM! We may all need a wake up call to the reality of who Jesus Christ was…and still is today! It’s something to think about for sure. May we all be confident enough in His ability to catch us and willing enough to fall on our knees and into His open and accepting arms. As a youth pastor for over 30 years, my heart’s cry is to see this generation become “normal” Christians…and live and love the life God created us to live! That’s NORMAL!