Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

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
Tags: , , ,

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”!

Whatcha hungry for?

Posted: February 4, 2014 in Uncategorized

1.23 BILLION wings are eaten on Superbowl sunday.

According to the National Chicken Council (really)…that’s the equivalent of piling 572 wings on each seat of the NFL stadium. The average football fan will consume over 1200 calories and 50 grams of fat today…and that’s just for the “snacks”.

Speaking of snacks-Americans will crunch our way through 11.2 million pounds of potato chips, 8.2 million pounds of tortilla chips, 80 million pounds of guacamole, 4.3 million pounds of pretzels, 3.8 million pounds of popcorn, and 2.5 million pounds of nuts.

Dominoes and Pizza Hut are expected to sell over 29 MILLION slices of pizza…Superbowl is the 2nd largest food consumption day…right behind Thanksgiving.

We will spend $2.37 million on soda alone.

*As a result…stats report that 7 million workers call in sick on “Super Monday”

My point today is that you will be filled with whatever you consume.

Matthew 5:6 (NIV) 6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

Matthew 5:6 (MSG) 6 “You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat.

What you eat is what you’ll be filled with. When you’re full…with whatever you’ve been eating/filling yourself with, you’re not able to take in anything else. On SuperBowl Sunday, there were athletes “hungering” for the Superbowl Vince Lombardi Trophy. Most likely, they weren’t hungry for anything else.

Mark Batterson, author of “All In” states it this way; “If you aren’t hungry for God, you are full of yourself.” So…what are you hungering for? What do you have the greatest appetite for? Relationships, social media, gossip?

You can count on this…as Christians living in today’s culture of compromise, we are called to be Christ to the world. Jesus won people with love. He only rejected those who were so “full of themselves” that they thought following a bunch rules would bring them closer to God. What Jesus taught and then lived out was perfect love for all people. What we have to learn is that we can truly love all people and not compromise the standards so clearly communicate in scripture. 

So…I ask again; what are you hungry for? Because it’s a safe bet that you will filled with that! 

Crosswalk-3

Posted: November 22, 2013 in Uncategorized

For the last few weeks, we’ve talked about what a CrossWalk is, the dangers of NOT using a CrossWalk and how Jesus is “THE ONLY” Cross or Bridge that we have to get to Father God.

So…the question this week is…why don’t we know Jesus?

Ever seen the game Frogger?

Frogger is an arcade game introduced in 1981. It was developed by Konami, and licensed for worldwide distribution by Sega/Gremlin. The object of the game is to direct frogs to their homes one by one. To do this, each frog must avoid cars while crossing a busy road and navigate a river full of hazards. Skillful players may obtain some bonuses along the way. The game is regarded as a classic from the golden age of video arcade games and was noted for its novel gameplay and theme.

In 1981, I was starting my 2nd semester at ICC…and I thought Frogger was AWESOME…and it was. But the entire game is based around a Frog trying to cross a busy street…without using a crosswalk. And the further you got, the faster the cars started coming, and the number of cars increased! Until, pretty soon, your Frog either made it across the street…or you died!

We just watched part of the episode of the popular 80’s-90’s TV show Seinfeld where George was trying to get an old Frogger video game console across a busy NYC street.

Last week we talked about if we live like the CrossWalk is foolish (the Amplified uses the word “sheer absurdity”)…then we may not really know the person of Jesus.

1 Corinthians 1:18 The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God.

In the game of Frogger, it’s sheer absurdity to think that a Frog can safely cross a busy street full of traffic…not waiting on traffic lights, not using a CrossWalk. Now that’s “sheer absurdity”! Talking about Frogger made us think of the old “Why did the chicken cross the road” jokes. According to research performed and recorded by Goblerz.com, here are some other “absurd” items.

1. Why did the chicken cross the road? To get to the other side

2. Why did the rooster cross the road? To cockadoodle dooo something

3. Why did the chicken cross the basketball court? He heard the referee calling fowls

4. Why did the turkey cross the road? To prove he wasn’t chicken

5. Why did the chicken cross the road, roll in the mud and cross the road again? Because he was a dirty double-crosser

6. Why didn’t the chicken skeleton cross the road? Because he didn’t have enough guts

7. Why did the chicken cross the playground? To get to the other slide

Why did the dinosaur cross the road? Because chickens hadn’t evolved yet.

9. Why did the turtle cross the road? To get to the shell station.

10. Why did the horse cross the road? Because the chicken needed a day off.

Let’s look at a definition of…

Absurd: utterly or obviously senseless; contrary to all reason or common sense.

Remember the phrase, “Christian Jaywalking”? When you an I try to get to the blessings, favor, mercy and forgiveness of God without going through Jesus…that’s Jaywalking….and that’s absurd! When all we have to do is come to the Son-Jesus Christ.

Sometimes we act as if we know better how to run our life than the One who gave life to us!

Isaiah 29:14-16 The wisdom of the wise will pass away, and the intelligence of the intelligent will disappear.” 15 What sorrow awaits those who try to hide their plans from the Lord, who do their evil deeds in the dark! “The Lord can’t see us,” they say. “He doesn’t know what’s going on!” 16 How foolish can you be? He is the Potter, and he is certainly greater than you, the clay! Should the created thing say of the one who made it, “He didn’t make me”? Does a jar ever say, “The potter who made me is stupid”?

We looked at that scripture last week from the Old Testament. But look at what Paul wrote to a church in the New Testament.

1 Corinthians 3:19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness to God.

Proverbs also has a lot to say about what is foolish in God’s eyes.

Proverbs 12:14-15                                                                                                                                                                                14 Wise words bring many benefits, and hard work brings rewards. 15 Fools think their own way is right, but the wise listen to others.

Are you listening to other? Your parents? Teachers?

Proverbs 21:1-3 (GW) 1 The king’s heart is like streams of water. Both are under the Lord’s control. He turns them in any direction he chooses. 2 A person thinks everything he does is right, but the Lord weighs hearts. 3 Doing what is right and fair is more acceptable to the Lord than offering a sacrifice.

We may think that talking a short cut is no big deal. But, unless God is directing your life…taking a short cut IS A BIG DEAL!

The love of God NEVER ENDS toward you! If you look back at the Children of Israel, they took 40 years to travel what some scholars say should have taken them less than 4 years…with all the children, animals and belongings they carried.

It may seem like it’s taking forever for you to reach some of the things you want in life…you’re told that you’re “not old enough”, or “when I was your age, I didn’t have _______”. But whatever the reason, and wherever you are in life….it’s time to stop and see where you’re trying to Cross (are you trying to go around God to get what you want) and what is so appealing to you that you’re willing to Cross against what God wants for your life.

Just like the YIELD sign at the altar of our youth ministry, it’s time for you to YIELD your life to Jesus…The CrossWalk to God’s plan for you!