Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Marriage: Early in the Game

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

Professed My Love to My Beautiful Bride...

Over our seven great years of dating there is not any other night that has been more special to Sarah and I than Christmas Eve. So deciding when to propose was a no brainer for me.

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

Snow & New Orleans?!?!?!?

That's right this morning as I woke up for my last final I looked out the window and saw a crazy site.... SNOW. It was also sticking.

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

My Thankful "State of the Union"

In August 2007 I packed up and set off for this place called New Orleans. Sarah and I had visited earlier that year in March, but overall I didn’t know hardly anything about this city. Actually I just had a feeling that God wanted me to move.

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

November 17th- A Very Speical Day....

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
>best friends
>older (HA!)
>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.
--Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

Sweetheart, I Love You Great Big!

To make her blush for me please send her an email @ semonday@gmail.com

Friday, November 14, 2008

Beth Moore vs. Greg Wilton

The November HimnI was a great night or worship as God was among us and moved during our time.

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

We say we do... But Do we believe?

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

Nail 'em Up!

On October 31, 1517 a revolutionist named Martin Luther nailed 95 Theses to the Castle church in Wittenberg, Germany. These came in response to him reading the scripture and examining the practices of Christians in the church at that time. They came out of a love for the truth and the desire to bring that truth to light in the world.

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!

The 95 Theses were:
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.

2. This word cannot be understood to mean sacramental penance, i.e., confession and satisfaction, which is administered by the priests.

3. Yet it means not inward repentance only; nay, there is no inward repentance which does not outwardly work divers mortifications of the flesh.

4. The penalty [of sin], therefore, continues so long as hatred of self continues; for this is the true inward repentance, and continues until our entrance into the kingdom of heaven.

5. The pope does not intend to remit, and cannot remit any penalties other than those which he has imposed either by his own authority or by that of the Canons.

6. The pope cannot remit any guilt, except by declaring that it has been remitted by God and by assenting to God's remission; though, to be sure, he may grant remission in cases reserved to his judgment. If his right to grant remission in such cases were despised, the guilt would remain entirely unforgiven.

7. God remits guilt to no one whom He does not, at the same time, humble in all things and bring into subjection to His vicar, the priest.

8. The penitential canons are imposed only on the living, and, according to them, nothing should be imposed on the dying.

9. Therefore the Holy Spirit in the pope is kind to us, because in his decrees he always makes exception of the article of death and of necessity.

10. Ignorant and wicked are the doings of those priests who, in the case of the dying, reserve canonical penances for purgatory.

11. This changing of the canonical penalty to the penalty of purgatory is quite evidently one of the tares that were sown while the bishops slept.

12. In former times the canonical penalties were imposed not after, but before absolution, as tests of true contrition.

13. The dying are freed by death from all penalties; they are already dead to canonical rules, and have a right to be released from them.

14. The imperfect health [of soul], that is to say, the imperfect love, of the dying brings with it, of necessity, great fear; and the smaller the love, the greater is the fear.

15. This fear and horror is sufficient of itself alone (to say nothing of other things) to constitute the penalty of purgatory, since it is very near to the horror of despair.

16. Hell, purgatory, and heaven seem to differ as do despair, almost-despair, and the assurance of safety.

17. With souls in purgatory it seems necessary that horror should grow less and love increase.

18. It seems unproved, either by reason or Scripture, that they are outside the state of merit,

that is to say, of increasing love.

19. Again, it seems unproved that they, or at least that all of them, are certain or assured of their own blessedness, though we may be quite certain of it.

20. Therefore by "full remission of all penalties" the pope means not actually "of all," but only of those imposed by himself.

21. Therefore those preachers of indulgences are in error, who say that by the pope's indulgences a man is freed from every penalty, and saved;

22. Whereas he remits to souls in purgatory no penalty which, according to the canons, they would have had to pay in this life.

23. If it is at all possible to grant to any one the remission of all penalties whatsoever, it is certain that this remission can be granted only to the most perfect, that is, to the very fewest.

24. It must needs be, therefore, that the greater part of the people are deceived by that indiscriminate and highsounding promise of release from penalty.

25. The power which the pope has, in a general way, over purgatory, is just like the power which any bishop or curate has, in a special way, within his own diocese or parish.

26. The pope does well when he grants remission to souls [in purgatory], not by the power of the keys (which he does not possess), but by way of intercession.

27. They preach man who say that so soon as the penny jingles into the money-box, the soul flies out [of purgatory].

28. It is certain that when the penny jingles into the money-box, gain and avarice can be increased, but the result of the intercession of the Church is in the power of God alone.

29. Who knows whether all the souls in purgatory wish to be bought out of it, as in the legend of Sts. Severinus and Paschal.

30. No one is sure that his own contrition is sincere; much less that he has attained full remission.

31. Rare as is the man that is truly penitent, so rare is also the man who truly buys indulgences, i.e., such men are most rare.

32. They will be condemned eternally, together with their teachers, who believe themselves sure of their salvation because they have letters of pardon.

33. Men must be on their guard against those who say that the pope's pardons are that inestimable gift of God by which man is reconciled to Him;

34. For these "graces of pardon" concern only the penalties of sacramental satisfaction, and these are appointed by man.

35. They preach no Christian doctrine who teach that contrition is not necessary in those who intend to buy souls out of purgatory or to buy confessionalia.

36. Every truly repentant Christian has a right to full remission of penalty and guilt, even without letters of pardon.

37. Every true Christian, whether living or dead, has part in all the blessings of Christ and the Church; and this is granted him by God, even without letters of pardon.

38. Nevertheless, the remission and participation [in the blessings of the Church] which are granted by the pope are in no way to be despised, for they are, as I have said, the declaration of divine remission.

39. It is most difficult, even for the very keenest theologians, at one and the same time to commend to the people the abundance of pardons and [the need of] true contrition.

40. True contrition seeks and loves penalties, but liberal pardons only relax penalties and cause them to be hated, or at least, furnish an occasion [for hating them].

41. Apostolic pardons are to be preached with caution, lest the people may falsely think them preferable to other good works of love.

42. Christians are to be taught that the pope does not intend the buying of pardons to be compared in any way to works of mercy.

43. Christians are to be taught that he who gives to the poor or lends to the needy does a better work than buying pardons;

44. Because love grows by works of love, and man becomes better; but by pardons man does not grow better, only more free from penalty.

45. Christians are to be taught that he who sees a man in need, and passes him by, and gives [his money] for pardons, purchases not the indulgences of the pope, but the indignation of God.

46. Christians are to be taught that unless they have more than they need, they are bound to keep back what is necessary for their own families, and by no means to squander it on pardons.

47. Christians are to be taught that the buying of pardons is a matter of free will, and not of commandment.

48. Christians are to be taught that the pope, in granting pardons, needs, and therefore desires, their devout prayer for him more than the money they bring.

49. Christians are to be taught that the pope's pardons are useful, if they do not put their trust in them; but altogether harmful, if through them they lose their fear of God.

50. Christians are to be taught that if the pope knew the exactions of the pardon-preachers, he would rather that St. Peter's church should go to ashes, than that it should be built up with the skin, flesh and bones of his sheep.

51. Christians are to be taught that it would be the pope's wish, as it is his duty, to give of his own money to very many of those from whom certain hawkers of pardons cajole money, even though the church of St. Peter might have to be sold.

52. The assurance of salvation by letters of pardon is vain, even though the commissary, nay, even though the pope himself, were to stake his soul upon it.

53. They are enemies of Christ and of the pope, who bid the Word of God be altogether silent in some Churches, in order that pardons may be preached in others.

54. Injury is done the Word of God when, in the same sermon, an equal or a longer time is spent on pardons than on this Word.

55. It must be the intention of the pope that if pardons, which are a very small thing, are celebrated with one bell, with single processions and ceremonies, then the Gospel, which is the very greatest thing, should be preached with a hundred bells, a hundred processions, a hundred ceremonies.

56. The "treasures of the Church," out of which the pope. grants indulgences, are not sufficiently named or known among the people of Christ.

57. That they are not temporal treasures is certainly evident, for many of the vendors do not pour out such treasures so easily, but only gather them.

58. Nor are they the merits of Christ and the Saints, for even without the pope, these always work grace for the inner man, and the cross, death, and hell for the outward man.

59. St. Lawrence said that the treasures of the Church were the Church's poor, but he spoke according to the usage of the word in his own time.

60. Without rashness we say that the keys of the Church, given by Christ's merit, are that treasure;

61. For it is clear that for the remission of penalties and of reserved cases, the power of the pope is of itself sufficient.

62. The true treasure of the Church is the Most Holy Gospel of the glory and the grace of God.

63. But this treasure is naturally most odious, for it makes the first to be last.

64. On the other hand, the treasure of indulgences is naturally most acceptable, for it makes the last to be first.

65. Therefore the treasures of the Gospel are nets with which they formerly were wont to fish for men of riches.

66. The treasures of the indulgences are nets with which they now fish for the riches of men.

67. The indulgences which the preachers cry as the "greatest graces" are known to be truly such, in so far as they promote gain.

68. Yet they are in truth the very smallest graces compared with the grace of God and the piety of the Cross.

69. Bishops and curates are bound to admit the commissaries of apostolic pardons, with all reverence.

70. But still more are they bound to strain all their eyes and attend with all their ears, lest these men preach their own dreams instead of the commission of the pope.

71. He who speaks against the truth of apostolic pardons, let him be anathema and accursed!

72. But he who guards against the lust and license of the pardon-preachers, let him be blessed!

73. The pope justly thunders against those who, by any art, contrive the injury of the traffic in pardons.

74. But much more does he intend to thunder against those who use the pretext of pardons to contrive the injury of holy love and truth.

75. To think the papal pardons so great that they could absolve a man even if he had committed an impossible sin and violated the Mother of God -- this is madness.

76. We say, on the contrary, that the papal pardons are not able to remove the very least of venial sins, so far as its guilt is concerned.

77. It is said that even St. Peter, if he were now Pope, could not bestow greater graces; this is blasphemy against St. Peter and against the pope.

78. We say, on the contrary, that even the present pope, and any pope at all, has greater graces at his disposal; to wit, the Gospel, powers, gifts of healing, etc., as it is written in I. Corinthians xii.

79. To say that the cross, emblazoned with the papal arms, which is set up [by the preachers of

indulgences], is of equal worth with the Cross of Christ, is blasphemy.

80. The bishops, curates and theologians who allow such talk to be spread among the people, will have an account to render.

81. This unbridled preaching of pardons makes it no easy matter, even for learned men, to rescue the reverence due to the pope from slander, or even from the shrewd questionings of the laity.

82. To wit: -- "Why does not the pope empty purgatory, for the sake of holy love and of the dire need of the souls that are there, if he redeems an infinite number of souls for the sake of miserable money with which to build a Church? The former reasons would be most just; the latter is most trivial."

83. Again: -- "Why are mortuary and anniversary masses for the dead continued, and why does he not return or permit the withdrawal of the endowments founded on their behalf, since it is wrong to pray for the redeemed?"

84. Again: -- "What is this new piety of God and the pope, that for money they allow a man who is impious and their enemy to buy out of purgatory the pious soul of a friend of God, and do not rather, because of that pious and beloved soul's own need, free it for pure love's sake?"

85. Again: -- "Why are the penitential canons long since in actual fact and through disuse abrogated and dead, now satisfied by the granting of indulgences, as though they were still alive and in force?"

86. Again: -- "Why does not the pope, whose wealth is to-day greater than the riches of the richest, build just this one church of St. Peter with his own money, rather than with the money of poor believers?"

87. Again: -- "What is it that the pope remits, and what participation does he grant to those who, by perfect contrition, have a right to full remission and participation?"

88. Again: -- "What greater blessing could come to the Church than if the pope were to do a hundred times a day what he now does once, and bestow on every believer these remissions and participations?"

89. "Since the pope, by his pardons, seeks the salvation of souls rather than money, why does he suspend the indulgences and pardons granted heretofore, since these have equal efficacy?"

90. To repress these arguments and scruples of the laity by force alone, and not to resolve them by giving reasons, is to expose the Church and the pope to the ridicule of their enemies, and to make Christians unhappy.

91. If, therefore, pardons were preached according to the spirit and mind of the pope, all these doubts would be readily resolved; nay, they would not exist.

92. Away, then, with all those prophets who say to the people of Christ, "Peace, peace," and there is no peace!

93. Blessed be all those prophets who say to the people of Christ, "Cross, cross," and there is no cross!

94. Christians are to be exhorted that they be diligent in following Christ, their Head, through penalties, deaths, and hell;

95. And thus be confident of entering into heaven rather through many tribulations, than through the assurance of peace

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

World Changer: One Man

Ever had a great day? Wednesday October 29, 2008 was one of those days for me. Many things happened, but I would like to share one. I hope this one encourages and challenges you in your journey with Christ.

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

Confident Action

It’s been a while since I posted last. To be honest, I have enjoyed clicking up on my blog page and seeing Sarah kissing my cheek.

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

A Picture Post....

Here is a glimpse of My 24th Birthday weekend.
Sarah said this was a really good picture of me. We are getting ready to go to dinner where I had Steak with crab over the top, Sarah had Salmon. Yum!

Sarah is standing where the first Auburn/Georgia game was played over a 100 years ago. The Auburn and Georgia rivalry is the oldest one in the SEC. She is drinking Toomer's Lemonade, world known but really really sweet.
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.

The Rolling of Toomer's corner has been an Auburn Tradition for many years. Back in the day the drug store that sells the lemonade was the only place in town that had a telegraph machine. When they received word about the outcome of a Auburn away game someone would go out and post the telegram on the trees across the street. Now fans roll the trees after every win. It was a cool thing to experience, I even took a turn at the rolling.

Overall, it was a great birthday!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Birthday Weekend Travel

This weekend I am meeting Sarah to see my boys, UT, face the War Eagles of Auburn. I hope that they can pull out a win for my birthday, Saturday!!!!!

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.

Enjoy yourself
Go Vols

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

God’s Heart Beat becoming Ours…

Jesus’ last business meeting with the early church here on earth reveals a great glimpse into God’s heart. Matthew 28:19-20 is a very well known passage in which Jesus tells his leaders God’s mission for the church, which is to take the Gospel to every and all nations.

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.

--Ps. 67

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, Baptism & BBQ...

This past weekend was a jammed packed one for me.

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

Desire Glory or Grease

This post is going to cover what God has been working in my heart for a while – specifically this past week as I prepared a sermon for my preaching class. I hope it challenges and encourages you. May God get all the praise.

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.

God’s heart and David’s heart were similar, so understanding David’s helps us grasp a better understanding of God’s. A great way to study this heart is by reading the many psalms that David authored during his journey with God. This week I marinated like a big sirloin in Psalm 57 mainly as I prepared a message.

"Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; let your glory be over all the earth."

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

Dome Sweet Dome...Volunteers!

Last Sunday I got the opportunity to see the Saints open the season with a big win at home in the Superdome. Although is was not as special a moment as in 2006 after hurricane Katrina the game was still exciting. It went down the last few minutes of the fourth quarter. The game was sealed with a interception which I caught on my camera. The Red arrow indicates the game winning INT!

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!