Tuesday, December 30, 2008
I’ve been engaged for all of 6 days and one thing I’m realizing is that I am going to learn a ton about marriage as we journey together over the next year. I’m excited about this and look forward to sharing my insights with you.
This morning I began to read through today’s portion of the One Year Bible, hanging out in Malachi and God showed me something about marriage. Malachi 2:14-16 God speaks to the Israelite men and calls them to repentance in the area of marriage.
Several aspects of marriage were reaffirmed this morning.
• Marriage is a life-long covenant between two people with God as the witness.
• Marriage provides a man & woman with a companion for life, work and ministry.
• Marriage is the uniting of two people that become one.
• Marriage to Sarah is going to rock.
I also learned two new aspects of marriage that I have never thought about:
• God gives His Spirit
• God’s purpose for marriage is Godly offspring
God ordains and makes marriages, but verse 15 tells us that He also gives a portion of the Spirit in the union. As a young single man I have been desperate for the Spirit. As a married man nothing will change, I will always have to be desperate for God’s Spirit to lead me. The overall purpose of marriage is stated in verse 16, to reproduce Godly offspring that will follow in their parents’ ways of following God by the leading of His Spirit.
There is a spiritual purpose for every marriage and God’s leading is necessary in order to fulfill this purpose. Whether you are married, soon to be or far from it, I think there are several prayer points that come from this text. I would challenge you to begin today praying through the truth of this text. It will help your marriage and keep it headed down God’s right track.
5 Prayer Points
1. Make us one
2. Help us realize & rely on the leading of your Spirit
3. Continually guard our spirit
4. Empower us to remain faithful to each other
5. Ultimate result = Godly Offspring
Thursday, December 25, 2008
The night started with a present at Maymee's house for "The Princess of the Night," inside: rose pedals, a digital recorder, old photos and a CD. Sarah left and went to several spots that were important to us in our first year of dating (2001-2002). At the high school there was a rose which symbolized our past. The final stop was her church, which is where I was at. We looked through our yearbooks from 2001 & 2002. This was our "past": young, no idea but crazy about each other.
Our "present" was short as we watched a short video when I was recently joking with her. I gave her a rose to symbolize our present.
Then I walked her into the sanctuary and to the altar. We stood and talked for awhile. I fulfilled Sarah's request by professing my love for her as my girlfriend and my desire to have her be my wife for the rest of our lives. Then I pulled out the last rose which symbolized the future, tied to the rose was the ring. Thankfully she said yes with tears coming down her eyes. We hugged, kissed and she had a grin from ear to ear.
Then I explained that I was glad that we would become a family, but both of us would build off our own individual family's foundation. For this reason I was happy to tell her that the diamond that she would wear was Maymee's diamond that she had worn. This is her 90 year old Grandmother that has been a great role model and example in Sarah's life, both practically and spiritually. She was speechless and really really cried tears of great joy. Personally this was the highlight of the night that I had been waiting to get to. This diamond is the most gorgeous diamond in the whole wide world.
She then opened her Christmas present from me, a ESV Journaling Bible with "Sarah E. Brichetto" engraved on the cover. I have also selected Psalm 67 to be our family's prayer for life. (This concept is seen in Deuteronomy 6:4-9 with the Israelite families.) We read it together for the first time, with millions more times to come, then we bowed and prayed over each other. This time of prayer on my knees was my second most favorite part.
From there we went to the fellowship hall and danced to Jazz music as a newly engaged couple, this was practice for the Spring. Our two families joined us @ 10pm to hear the story and see the ring. Then we all worshipped @ the 11pm Christmas Eve Service at Asbury.
Maymee loved the way that the diamond looked.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
This is my apartment and one of my roommates. We were going crazy.
This picture was taken by a friend that works in the Business District, which is where Sarah and I will be hanging out in the Spring when she gets down here. This is about a block from where she will work and live. Hopefully it will snow again! The St. Charles Streetcar looks awesome.
Everyone was so happy and acting like little kids. The unexpected happens everyday in this city and I love it!
Sunday, December 7, 2008
For my Thanksgiving break a week ago I drove over 32 hours in a total of seven days--New Orleans to Knoxville to Hilton Head to Knoxville back to New Orleans. That’s a lot of driving which gave me even more time to think. I did a lot of reflecting during these drives. I wanted to share some of my thoughts, which I hope encourage you and challenge you in your place in life.
If asked two years ago what I would want for life and ministry, I would not have even thought to ask for over half of what I am doing right now. My journey over the last two years is so crazy that it excites and energizes me about the rest of my life. My testimony is that surrendering to God’s call brings both the expected and unexpected.
Matthew Brichetto as of December 7, 2008:
• God has again shown me the great love that He has for His bride, the local church. This is Plan A for reaching the nations with the Gospel, there is no Plan B.
• God has challenged me to be aware and open to engaging with people daily. Lost people come into contact with Christians everyday, unfortunately for their souls we are too focus on ourselves to reach out to them.
• God has shown me that while class time is important, time outside the class- actually in the city- is more important. Spiritual knowledge must have effect on the 4.5 Billion lost people in the world. (There are thousands in every city in America.) The statistic means that the church must wake up!
• God has stretched me beyond belief with the various types of people in this city; this challenge has been a huge joy. The Gospel message is always the same, however sometimes our method for presenting this timeless message must change.
The pictures are from Saturday night, there were over 250 people @ Vintage Uptown for a four band show. There were tons of people going crazy for particular bands. I can’t wait until Sunday services @ Vintage Church look like this.
• God has punched me in the gut on my spiritual disciplines: prayer, submission, service, worship, confession, evangelism, discipleship and the list goes on…
• God has helped me, a C Spanish student in high school, learn Greek and Hebrew. Studying the original language has revealed the depth of God’s Word. WOW! His revelation to us is so rich, if we would just study it.
• God has told me to quit working for another title and serve with the one I have, “Servant of Christ.” Christians need to roll up their sleeves and do some dirty work.
• God has taught me that ministry in New Orleans is not a sprint, but a marathon. I must plant myself here and grow my roots deep in order to make the impact that I’d committed to when He called me.
These newly gained insights have humbled me and drawn me to my knees. During this season of Thanksgiving and Christmas I’m thankful more than I have ever been in my life. The great theologian T.I. (a rapper) says: “You need to be thankful for the life you got, stop looking at what you ain’t got and start being thankful for what you do got.” A great quote for life found in a rap song.
I’m a young man that is blessed beyond anything I could have ever imagined. Thank you to all who have been with me on this journey, the future is going to be crazy fun as we turn the world upside down for the Glory of God. There is only one God and He’s worthy of our life!
But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.
--Paul’s words in Acts 20:24
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Seven years ago I was a 17 year old Junior in High School and had been talking to this very beautiful Freshman (she was almost 15 years old) since August of that year, 2001. She had a beautiful name: Sarah Elizabeth Monday.
We had already been on a hand full of dates in October but on this day we attended our second UT football game together. The Vols beat down the Memphis Tigers. At this time we were so crazy about each other and talked every night on the phone. I was so enthralled by her, I wanted to get to know more and more about her. That night on the phone I nervously asked her a simple question: "Would you like to be my girlfriend?"
She answered very shyly: "Yes, certainly."
With these simple words our relationship began. It's been a wonderful journey. Today we celebrate dating for seven years! That's CRAZY, because several of my married friends in New Orleans haven't been with their wife this long.
On Nov. 17th 2008 we are alot more...
>appreciative of each other
>IN LOVE... than we were in 2001.
This only names a few.
Over the past year and half we have learned some much about ourselves and each other by living 9 hours apart. Next semester we will once again be living in the same city, so watch out New Orleans! Thank you to everyone that has helped, loved, supported and journeyed with us over these past seven years. You all have impacted our life and help make us into the adults we are today. We are looking forward to seventy-seven more amazing years together. Yes, we are going to get married soon. I mean don't get me wrong, dating is great, but marriage is going to be even greater! We've been waiting on a few things, like college educations.
The thing I most love about our relationship is that it is a partnership. We both want to change the world together,side by side. We dream big because we believe in a Big God. King Solomon, a wise old man said it this way in Ecclesiastes 4:
9 Two people are better off than one,
for they can help each other succeed.
10 If one person falls, the other can reach out and help.
But someone who falls alone is in real trouble.
11 Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm.
But how can one be warm alone?
12 A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated,
but two can stand back-to-back and conquer.
Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.
Sweetheart, I Love You Great Big!
To make her blush for me please send her an email @ firstname.lastname@example.org
Friday, November 14, 2008
Some of our regular girls were out because Beth Moore has been teaching at a church in the city all week.
At HimnI we dove into the thought that Jesus is King. He's not king by vote or force. He's king because Jesus is King. The Spirit was thick in the room as we dwelled on this thought and what effect Jesus being king has on our life.
Paul gave us this picture in Philippians 2
8And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death— even death on a cross!
9Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name,
10that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Here is a glimpse at last night- Rob Wilton is the Video man
Everybody has one King, is that King Jesus?
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
“Change” is the million dollar word this year, and we’ve been beaten over the head by it in this “so historic election.”
Personally, I’m glad that Tuesday November 4, 2008 is finally here, so we can get to Wednesday and start life again. I write this blog with such a saddened heart, I've been broken by what I have seen in Christians during this election year.
Pastors and Christian leaders have been so passionately involved in the whole process. They have been banging their drums louder than normal. Tuesday my gmail was bombarded with emails that stated that no matter what happened tonight God would still be in control. Facebook statuses have also been dedicated to proclaiming this message.
- My question is this: “Do you really believe that He’s in control?”
- If you do (and He is and He will always be) what does that mean for your life?
- What do you think that God is more focused on: a new American President or the 4.5 BILLION lost people all over the world?
From my time in the Word over the last few weeks God has shown me that we spend so much time talking. What the world needs on Wednesday is for the American church to come alive not for a political vision, but for God’s ultimate vision which is saving people through his son Jesus. 4.5 Billion lost people is such a huge task to waste so much time devoted to an election. Instead we should Pray and GO into the fields where the harvest awaits. Today! This is what Jesus commanded
2He told them, "The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. 3Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. –Luke 10:2-3
“If we truly believe the Gospel outlined in the Bible the result is a radical change in our daily lifestyle.” –David Platt
*Today, Ask God who you know that needs to hear about the gift of salvation through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. Then Go share the greatest story of change in the history of the world.
Friday, October 31, 2008
I wonder what type of revolution would take place if Christians today read, studied and examined scripture in relation to the way American Christians live today. I think we too would be heart broken, repent and revival would sweep the nation. May it be so today for the Glory of God to all people!
In the Name our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
1. Our Lord and Master Jesus Christ, when He said Poenitentiam agite, willed that the whole life of believers should be repentance.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
NOBTS has many international students, many of them from South Korea. The simple fact that they have moved half way around the world to study should challenge us in our lazy American Christian lives. [Another sermon for another post. HA!]
On Wednesday I had the opportunity to have lunch with a man named Seongjin Park, a God called man that can really preach. (both in English and Korean) I won’t go into all the details but simply say that this Christian brother’s walk with the Lord rocked my socks off. He spent 20+ years as a Financial Planner in Korea advising people on financial matters, mostly planning for retirement. God convicted and called him to throw aside the pursuit of earthly treasures to begin to invest in heavenly treasures. (Matt 6:19-21)
Translation: Beginning to make disciples of all nations for the Glory of God (Matt 28:19-20)
BUT, the most humbling and life-changing thing was as he shared with me his passion for this calling. He stated that God had given him a vision for his calling. The goal was to reach and impact 100,000 people with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
That's Neyland Stadium packed!
What a glorious site!
Ponder that for a minute….
- You think that is a big vision? I would say “yes.”
- You think that is an impossible vision to accomplish? I would say “No.”
If we truly believe that we serve a God who is all about doing the impossible, then why do we not live everyday with God-Sized visions for our life?
The “To-Do”: Blow up your picture of God and allow the new picture to totally change the way you live, work, volunteer, study, serve and minister.
God has a specific mission for your life. You might be the only Christian that a person in your city interacts with.
“You are ‘the very one man!’” --Seongjin Park
Prayer: God, give me a bigger picture of you and your desire to see all people know you as the Lord of all and Savior of mankind. Make me that “very one man.” Declare your Glory through me, your human vessel and mouthpiece.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
But now I’m back and I would like to invite you to think about prayer with me. Our HimnI community has been wrapping our hearts around this issue over the past two months as we have been studying the theme: “When you pray, Move your feet.” http://himni.org/
14 This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him. - 1 John 5:14-15 (NIV)
I seek confidence in every area of my life. I want people to like me, talk to me and laugh when I share a stupid joke. The last one usually doesn’t happen, because I’m just not very funny. I desire to do what I should be doing each day, I don’t want to waste my life. I want to hear God say “Well done, good and faithful servant.” I want to be confident that the life I’m living is the one that God’s has planned for me to live.
If you were to think about your own life, I’m sure you would say that you strive for the exact same thing. John states in this passage that our confidence comes as we continuously approach God asks for any and everything according to His will. The emphasis here is on God’s will not our will.
As we have learned this semester at HimnI, prayer drives us to act. A lack of action shows a lack of prayer.
Our discussion with God about what He really wants (prayer), He reveals His heart to us. This heart is one that is broken for people that do not know him. He desires above all else for people to come to him and enter into a relationship with him. As we continually pray, our heart will become aligned with his. We will see people the way he does and then get off our behinds and get to work! Statics show you come across thousands of people that are not in a relationship with him daily. Knowing this fact should drive us to our knees and then lead us to go engage with them.
“Nothing lies beyond the reach of prayer except that which lies outside the will of God.”
- God, give us a heart like yours for the people in our community, workplaces, schools, neighborhoods and apartment complexes. Show us ways to reach these people.
Sunday, September 28, 2008
The first Aubie mascot outfit.
The Pride of the Southland marching off during halftime. Brings back memories from five years ago when I was there playing for the Vols as a freshman at UT.
My beautiful Sarah enjoying the sun and time with me.
We were all smiles after the game even though the Vols lost. I loved this picture because of the sunset.
The building in the background is one of the oldest on campus. Between each floor is two feet of sand. This is designed to prevent it from burning down. When a floor burns, the sand falls out and puts the fire out. Auburn is known for their engineering program
Erin and Lori are friends from Centri-Kid that I was glad to see and hang out with on Saturday.
Friday, September 26, 2008
Either way Sarah and I will enjoy getting to see each other for the first time in six weeks.
These are pictures from August.
More to come after the weekend.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
I often wonder how to pray to God for my life, my friends, the church and most importantly lost people. Tuesday the Psalm from the One Year Bible reading schedule was Psalm 67. After reading this I believe we have a great model for prayer and a way to align our hearts with God’s so that they might become similar.
1 May God be gracious to us and bless us
and make his face shine upon us, Selah
2 that your ways may be known on earth,
your salvation among all nations.
3 May the peoples praise you, O God;
may all the peoples praise you.
4 May the nations be glad and sing for joy,
for you rule the peoples justly
and guide the nations of the earth. Selah
5 May the peoples praise you, O God;
may all the peoples praise you.
6 Then the land will yield its harvest,
and God, our God, will bless us.
7 God will bless us,
and all the ends of the earth will fear him.
I can’t help but see the overjoyed spirit from which this writer expresses this prays to God, our gracious and glorious God. The joy comes from the spreading the news about God’s redemptive love around the whole world. Much like the topic that Jesus last spoke of while here on earth. Every verse mentions God’s relationship with the entire world all the way down to me and you.
Even with the spread of the Gospel around the world do you see that the focus is always towards God?
This should speak volumes to us about the reason we pray, witness, study, work and interact with others. This should change our families, relationships, marriages, friendships and every other part of life.
Yesterday I used this as guide for my prayer to God which praised, confessed, requested and thanked God. I pray that you use it to accomplish the same.
May God be blessed, people receive salvation and every nation praise God!
Monday, September 22, 2008
HimnI finally kicked off for the fall semester. This is a monthly worship gathering for college students & young adults in New Orleans that I serve with.
We had a great turn out for the first one.
This semester's theme is Prayer, in the sense that prayer should lead us to action. I'm sure that I will write more about this over the next few months.
Saturday about 34 people from Vintage went out in the community to serve by doing trash pick up, passing out waters and helping people move. While I was walking around I received a huge compliment. We all wear the same green shirts and pass out water bottles with green labels (see photo from an earlier post). A man working on a house yelled at me and said "Hey, you are one of those 'water people'." If only all churches would be known for their ministry and not as hypocrites. How different America & the world would be.
My church Vintage also had a big day on Sunday as we baptized seven people after our morning worship service. Sunday September 28, 2008 is our official public launch. Less than one week away.
We thought about having a pool after, but instead we had a cook out with burgers, dogs, chicken legs and sausage. It was very good.
In these two pictures is Rob and James, a guy that recently gave his life to Christ this summer.
I praise God for the work that he has already done to this point and look forward to all that He has in store for us at Vintage.
Oh that He may get all the honor and glory!
I encourage you to look for where God is working in your city and drive in by getting involved. There is nothing like doing the work of our God, its thrilling and exciting.
Desiring to Proclaim His Holy Name!
Friday, September 19, 2008
Most of us know about David, one of the greatest studs of the Old Testament. His resume reads: defeated the mighty giant Goliath, greatest king of Israel and ancestor of Jesus. Despite his many accomplishments, David’s greatest achievement is that he was commended by God himself as a man after his (God’s) own heart.
The message of Psalm 57 and many others is that God’s #1 goal is to proclaim His Holy Name. I saw this as I studied Psalm 57 and David, who at this part of life was struggling. David’s confident hope through this part of his life was the Exaltation of God and His Glorification! This is a huge point that David got and I believe that we must get today as God’s children.
- God’s purpose for David was to glorify Himself thorough his life.
- God’s purpose for you is to glorify Himself thorough your life.
- God’s purpose for your ministry (wherever he has placed you [both in a church & office) is to glorify Himself through that ministry.
- God’s purpose for mankind is to glorify Himself though each one.
As Christians, we are the vessels that He works to fill the earth with His Glory. Truly grasping this changes our heart and directs us down a different path. The world’s way is to get fame for yourself. God’s way is to get fame for Himself.
The desire of God’s heart is the exaltation of himself and his glorification.
*Today’s American church desperately needs to regain the vision of displaying God’s glory over numbers in attendance, big building projects and any other earthly accumulation that we strive for. I have recently read about a church that spent a time of prayer to pray for what God would have them give to the church to purchase a grease pit (not sure what it does, but it cost $20,000), also a new digital sign (also $20,000) and a few other things.
This BROKE my heart and I believe that it broke the heart of God. Can those things bring Glory to God? Yes. But the true question is why not spend time on your knees praying for how God would want a church to do ministry, be out in the community and use money given over a budget to reach the people on the outside (both locally and worldwide. $20,000, $40,000 and more could be used in a million different ways to display God’s Glory. Hopefully we would choose to use it in whatever way it would have the most effective impact. A church has been issued the mission to be in the people business (not building), but many Christians (pastors and members) have lost that vision. We have so missed the mark.
This is true because many single mothers, struggling teens, hard-hearted men, poverty stricken, least and lost people in each community are not better off because there is a gathering of believers that meets in that community each week. We have a Savior who can change their lives, but they don’t know because we don’t show and tell them.
In order to see the blessing of God and His power return, I believe that each person of a church should bow and ask God what he would have them do to BE the church.
I pray that God would make our hearts overflow with a passion to exalt Him above the heavens and fill the earth with His Glory. (Ps. 57:5 & 11)
My Prayer: Oh God, break our heart for what breaks your heart. Form our heart to be in the likeness of your heart. Help me be bold so that I can be a light in my dark city.
Friday, September 12, 2008
The "WHO DAT?" Crew after the BIG win!
On Monday I decided to drive down to Houma, La. This is where the eye of Gustav passed over. The below picture shows some damage as many billboards were knocked over.
The reason for going was to see if Vintage should organize a team to go and do relief work. But when i got there I noticed a beautiful site.... The Volunteer State had already arrive and had it under control!