Getting Close

Carolyn is now due in less than two months!

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Published in: on April 10, 2009 at 12:08 pm  Comments (3)  

i am second

This Sunday at CrossWay Church we’re starting a new sermon series called “i am second.”  I’m pretty excited about it!  It’s something that several pastors in the community have been working on for a few months.

The idea came from a website by the same name.  You should check it out at iamsecond.com!  It has a lot of short testimonial videos by a bunch of different people.  Some of them you’ll recognize; others you’ve probably never heard of.  The series starts on Easter with a video from Brian Welch, formerly of the band Korn.  The second week’s video is by Chris Plekenpol, with videos the next two weeks from Shannon Culpepper and Josh Hamilton (slugger with the Texas Rangers).

The idea behind the series is that for Jesus Christ to be first, I have to put myself second.  We’ll look at how that works out in real, daily life beginning this Sunday.

“He must become greater; I must become less.” – John 3:30

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Published in: on April 8, 2009 at 5:23 am  Leave a Comment  

Almost Made It

ESPN.com held a contest during the NCAA Final Four tournament.  People could fill out brackets for the tournament and have a chance to win $10,000.  I came pretty close to winning the ten grand!  The only problem was that 4,303,593 people did better than me.  There’s always next year….

Published in: on April 7, 2009 at 9:36 am  Leave a Comment  

Downpour

Sometimes you just gotta stop and watch the rain.

Published in: on April 6, 2009 at 10:31 am  Leave a Comment  

The Gospel of Me

In the Gospel of Mark, there is a pretty large cast of characters who appear in the story during the last week of Jesus’ life.  Yesterday at CrossWay we zoomed in on a passage that features two different groups: a centurion and his fellow Roman soldiers, and a group of women who followed Jesus to Jerusalem from their homes up north.

In both of their stories, we see a contrast between their simple, Christ-centered faith and the self-centered religiosity that Jesus’ mockers–and many of us–slip into.

It’s natural to perceive everything through the lens of how it affects us.  If it benefits us, it’s good; if it’s detrimental to us, it’s bad; if it doesn’t affect us either way, it’s irrelevant.  This view puts us at the center of the universe with everything else revolving around us.  That’s the Gospel of Me.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ, however, has Jesus at its core.  Everything in creation revolves around Him.  (That’s why His pronouns get capitalized!)  We see in Mark 15:37-41 how the centurion and the women demonstrated this.

When the centurion saw how Jesus died, he declared: “Surely this man was the Son of God!”  Many times we let our faith be undermined by something bad happening.  If we get hurt, we ask: Where was God?  How did He let this happen?  Yet this Roman soldier had a simple understanding that God can die and still be God.  (And he didn’t even know anything yet about the resurrection!)  The other day I read a great sermon that offers insight into this reality.  It’s by Dr. J.A.T. Robinson, from the introduction to Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s book Letters and Papers from Prison.  He talks about how Jesus could have avoided the cross, but He was after a bigger purpose than pain avoidance.  Dr. Robinson says of the cross of Christ: “It was here that love as the clue to everything was to be sought–not ‘out there’ failing to prevent the evil, but in the midst of it, triumphing over it.”  On the cross, Jesus leapt right into the center of evil itself and whupped it.  When things are at their worst and we’re in our greatest pain, it could be then that God is up to His greatest good in our lives.

Then there’s the group of women.  The Bible makes a startling, remarkable statement about them: “these women had followed him (Jesus) and cared for his needs” (Mark 15:41).  How many of us can say that?  I’ve noticed in myself and many others that we tend to be like most of the crowd in New Testament times: they followed Jesus so that He could meet their needs, not the other way around.  These women, on the other hand, were motivated by love for Christ to follow Him and care for His needs.  Jesus is no longer in human flesh on the earth, so He no longer has any needs, but we can still be of use to Him.  Is that one of our primary reasons for following Him?

The Gospel of Me, or the Gospel of God.  Which one are you embracing?

Published in: on April 6, 2009 at 10:22 am  Comments (2)  

30 Weeks and Counting

Carolyn is at 30 weeks.  Hard to believe we’re three-quarters of the way there!

Published in: on April 1, 2009 at 4:53 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Other National Pastime

When my younger brother Dylan and I were kids, we used to amuse ourselves by taking baseball cards and doctoring them up a little bit.  Recently I came across a few samples:

Published in: on April 1, 2009 at 2:50 pm  Comments (2)