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!


Saturday, September 6, 2008

Sat. To Do- Laurence Park, Shrimp & Water

Hello Friends,

I wanted to update you all and share some picture from our work on Saturday. The Vintage Relief team decided to tackle Laurence Square Park today. This is a park down the street from our church; a hot spot for families of the Uptown area. Travis is a mad man with a rake! We have all become really good with one, this is the main work that we have been doing.
Tiffany and Howard, a man that lives next to Laurence Park, bag up some leaves.
We bagged up about 35 bags of leaves and limbs in the park which lined most of the street.

A shot of the Saturday Relief Team.

Rob's neighbor Karl fixed us all lunch, tons of BBQ Shrimp! Yum.

I am really roughing it here for lunch. Gustav has really spoiled us. I've probably gained 10 pounds. Relief work is really fun this way.

Another effective type of ministry that Vintage has discovered is passing out water bottles at street intersections in Uptown. This is a great way to meet people on a hot day as you give them a refreshingly cold bottle of Vintage Water.

Andrew Ogea and me rode around in the back of a truck and passed out bottles of water to people that were working hard in their yards.As I look back over this long week of work, I know that God is working in this city. As we count down to our September Launch (28th) I'm really excited to see the people that God is going to bring across our path. Whether it be through another hurricane (Ike), Vintage mission work day or just talking to people in the area; God is going to use this church to display His Glory in a dark and dying city. Thank you for your prayers.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Friday Work, Thoughts & Move In

Friday Afternoon, after a week of traveling around South Louisiana I finally got back into my apartment on the campus. I have power and everything is exactly the way that I left it on Friday night.

Friday was a great day of work in Uptown for the Vintage Relief Team. One of the guys Luke needed some stuff done to his house so we went his way. On his street we met several people and help them clean up, cut down trees and restore their home. Again it was hard work which means that I sweated and got nasty, but it showed me truly what BEING the church is all about. The people we talked to were surprised that we would just drive around a community and do yard work for people we don’t even know. I’m confident that people in all cities are like the people here, they need to see Christ in the life of a Christ follower. We, the church/Christians, do a great job talking about Christ; but what the lost people in this country need is to see Christ through the actions of people that claim to be Christ followers.

In 2 Corinthians 5:14-15 Paul stated “14For Christ's love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. 15And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.”

Claiming Christ as your savior means that you no longer live for yourself but live FOR HIM! That’s huge. It’s a life that is energized by Christ’s Love which was displayed on the cross; Paul says that it is this love which compels us daily.

My Lord was pleased to die for my sins; why should I not be glad to give up my poor life out of love for Him.” --Girolamo Savanarola, Martyred in Italy 1498

I challenge you to die to your old life, so that you live a new life IN Christ.

Be, Serve, Get Dirty!

I also had dinner in the French Quarter tonight, it was a ghost town. Below are some photos.
St. Louis Cathedral shot showing some damage to Jackson Square.
Cafe Du Monde- usually line out door and down the street.
The empty streets, which will probably be filled in just a few short days and weeks.
Enjoy your weekend!
Proclaim His Holy Name!
-the Brick

Thursday, September 4, 2008

I'm a Nomad

Last night I slept in the fourth different house in the last four days.

My original hope was to get back to my apartment today. Unfortunately the main damage that the city of New Orleans had was that of power failure.

13 of the 15 main lines that bring energy and power to the city were broken.

Massive power failures all across the city.

Most of the guys I'm working with live in Uptown and are back up and running.

The seminary is still trying to get power, which looks like it will happen over the weekend. So, I'm probably not going to be getting back until Sunday or Monday.

This is a link to see the damage of the seminary and surrounding area:

Look for the picture link at the top.

Thank you God for this inconvenience, because I will take that over 8 feet of water in the Gentilly area.

Psalm 83: 14-18 Desiring to Proclaim the Holy Name of the Most High Lord over all the earth!

Real Ministry

Today was a great day of work and ministry in Uptown.

We were really roughing it: eating pancakes, drinking coffee, and eating ribs for dinner.

Seriously the work that we did was great. We made contact with some of the people that we are trying to lead to Christ. We showed them the love of Christ by helping them clean up their homes. Many people are not back in the city, they returned throughout the day today and will pour in tomorrow. Our big target work days are Friday and Saturday, in which we hope to really get some stuff cracked out. Thursday will be spent mainly on school business and homework, yuck!

My Quiet time today was spent in Psalm 46 and 47. Looking over these two Psalms is very encouraging when you see the words that the author uses to describe our God.
These include: refuge, strength, help in trouble, Most High dwells, Almighty, fortress, Awesome, Great, King over all the earth (even hurricanes).

God is all of these things and all we have to do is be still and know.
God is all powerful and controls all things and all we have to do is be still and know.
God is at work in this city and your city and all we have to do is be still and know.

>Then get involved in that work. Most of this work looks different. Real Ministry is dirty work. The work of a servant is not always glamorous; sometimes it’s cleaning up leaves, dumping trash cans that smell terrible and getting nasty/smelly. This is doing everything as if you are working for the Lord, under the banner of Jesus Christ.

Thanks for your prayers.

Desiring to Proclaim His Holy Name!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Gustav Pictures

Pictures from the last few days.
Sunday Morning Paper

Shops on Magazine Prepare for Gustav.
Yeah Right! We got through and back to New Orleans after some dodging the road blocks.
Flooding on the Northshore seen after

My First shot coming back of my city, NEW ORLEANS!!!!
Our Boys protecting us! Thanks guys.

Mike and I trying to look as good as the National Guard. Not so easy.
A closer look at Mike's outfit for the day of work. What in the heck is this? Look at the pants.
Fuel Coffee House and the trash that we cleaned out.

My pancakes from Slim Goodies...Yummy! Good way to start a day of work.

Damage in Uptown. Trees and branches are the main thing.

A huge tree in Audubon Park, we hope to conquer that later. It's so massive.

Rob cleaning out his trash can, it smelled awful!!! Real ministry is doing the dirty work of a servant. We are servants of Jesus Christ, get in there and get to work.