Friday, May 29, 2009

New MAC & Apple Store Lesson.....

This week was certainly a big one for me. I converted from PC to MAC. This is one of the biggest decisions I have ever made that will effect the rest of my life or at least that’s what all my MAC friends tell me. You know MAC’s can do this and this and so on....

The time I spent in the Apple store here in NOLA on Tuesday and Friday did indeed change me. I certainly learned a lesson that had nothing to do with my MAC’s amazing ability, but instead has implications for a Christian’s life and Christ’s church. If you’ll read, I’m going to share my experience.

I purchased my MAC on Tuesday, opened it on Wednesday and noticed a small chip on the face of the keyboard. I returned it Friday to receive a new one. As I waited for the exchange to happen I noticed some amazing things. 

Every Apple store is pumping with energy. There’s an excitement like non other in these stores. There are bright colors, fun music and stuff to mess around on while you wait. Today just about every computer and iPod was being used by people (young & old) who just looked so happy to be in the store. As I stood there I was actually happy while waited, which is more than I can say about other stores in the mall. The environment is great and all they sell are high priced computers and phones.

Not only is the vibe great, but the employees are exceptionally happy and helpful. Dennis was my salesman on Tuesday and he was also working Friday. When I walked in he noticed me and spoke to me even though he was finishing an order with another buyer. When I told him about my problem he immediately moved to act while also closing out the other order. He was a great multi-tasker. In a few seconds he had the other boy’s new MAC and my new replacement ready for check out.

As he stepped away he informed me that he was headed to lunch. It was 1pm, which in my opinion is pretty late to head to lunch. Re-checking out took about 30 minutes, during that time Dennis proceeded to help three more customers. When I walked out of the Apple store after my 45 minute visit he was still assisting people with problems and answering questions. If I had to guess he probably never got his lunch break and I don't know if he even cared, he loves his job.

As I headed to my car I reflected on my wonderful Apple experience and my mind was immediately drawn to the Sunday worship gathering @ Vintage Uptown. Can I also ask you to think about the worship gathering that you serve in on Sundays or Wednesdays? My first thought was: “Man I wish Vintage was like the Apple Store.” And I bet you would have the same response, I mean how could you not?

Just imagine churches all across the US, Canada and the world where people were running to enter. Gatherings with an energy that was electric and people that were loving, helping and serving others. However some times, I think churches are more like funeral homes. As the pastors and members of churches only we can really effect the vibe of our corporate & small group gatherings. No matter where your church falls on the scale I think there is always room to improve. 

Apple sells computers which in my opinion are far from worthy when compared to the Gospel that every Christian has the privilege to communicate to friends and family on a weekly basis. When I compare my new MAC to Christ I can’t help but echo the words of Paul in Philippians 3:7-11. MAC computers are rubbish when placed next to Christ’s righteousness. 

I don’t know if you have ever personally been in an Apple store, but I would recommend that every pastor, staff member and church member make a visit. You don’t have to buy anything, just go and surf the web and check your email for a few minutes. As you do this observe and note the vibe. Then let this research impact the way you live, love and serve as a “Gospel Specialist.”

I truly hope that more churches will, if not already, be a joyous environment where every member is overjoyed to serve and sacrifice a lunch in order to continue to help people.

As a Christian you are apart of the Kingdom of God, rescued from the pit of sin. Think about this fact and then GO enjoy your personal position as one of God’s beloved children ready to serve. If I do my part and you do your part, then every church will become a vehicle through which God can work in an even greater way to bring about His Salvation.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Summer Plans....

The weather is heating up which means Summer is coming fast.

Monday evening Sarah and I enjoyed hanging out and talking face to face for the last time in a couple of months. Much like the last few summers, this summer we will live, work and serve in two different cities. However, we are excited since this will be the LAST summer we do this....because this time next year we'll be married!!

<--This was the solution for Delta Delays experienced on Monday

See it totally worked!!

Sarah will be chilling in Knoxville this summer to nail down all of the details for November 21st!

She will also be packing up the rest of her life for the big move to NOLA to pursue a Master's in Accounting @ University of New Orleans. Classes start in August.

The goal is to have the wedding plans done in order to fully focus on school and that blasted CPA Exam.

Matt is living, loving & serving in our home, NOLA this summer with Vintage Church. He will be coordinating the mission teams coming every week in June and July to work in Uptown. Spending everyday in Uptown is what excites him the most about this summer.

Searching for Sarah's apartment and blogging will be his way of relaxing, so make sure you check back frequently.

Our prayer for our work this summer comes from our family Psalm:
1)May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face shine upon us,
2)that your ways may be known on earth, your salvation among all nations.
--Psalm 67:1-2

We also pray & hope that God blesses you in your work over the next two months.

Source: The Bricks' Marriage Blog
Tomorrow: The Announcement of Bridesmaids

Monday, May 18, 2009

Lessons from Sarah

I enjoyed another weekend in Knox-Vegas catching up with friends and family. Sarah was in NYC w her annual scholarship trip and then spent the weekend in Boston for her friend Madison's graduation.

Monday was the day that both of us were looking forward to, since we were going to get to see each other for about half a day before our separate summers begin. Instead Delta has delayed her flight three times, just today. Hopefully we'll get a few hours in before tomorrow morning.

However, this seems to be just what Pastor Larry was preaching about yesterday at Asbury.

This small little church means the world to my sweetheart. The entire Monday side of the family serves in this church, which means that about half the people you meet when you attend are related to Sarah. I always try to be on my best behavior :)

This altar is where Sarah and I will make a commitment in 187 days to live, love and serve each other for the rest of our lives. Yesterday marked a huge milestone in our relationship, 7 1/2 years of dating. Which means two things: 1. We are closing in on marriage under common law & 2. We have been high school sweethearts for a long, looong time.

Yesterday Larry's sermon was about sacrifice and giving your all. The call of Christ is one that is from selfishness to willingness. Christians are commissioned to give their ALL for the sake of the Gospel. At the core of this call is attribute of LOVE. As I have reflected today I have realized that God has given me the perfect illustration to help me understand a Christian's call, in my relationship with Sarah. Over the past 7+ years we haven't been perfect, having had our share of fights and disagreements. But no matter what we have worked together to come to an agreement and worked it out. For better or for worse we stick together.

Marriages only last this way: when each person loves the way Christ loved the world....Sacrificially. This is the example that Christ modeled.

Can I ask you to reflect today on areas in your marriage, family, work or friendships where you need to be more sacrificial?
>Then go and do it!

May we all live today with a willingness & readiness to give our ALL for Jesus, to the glory of God.

And... Can someone please go to Atlanta, fly her Delta plane and land it in Dang Knoxville so that I can see my beautiful Bride? We would both really appreciate it... VERY VERY MUCH!!!!!!!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Lessons from youngest son & little brother.....

Yesterday the last Brick graduated from South-Doyle High school, which means that the school will never be the same. Nicholas has had many nicknames throughout his 13 years of school. The two most memorable are Frankie and BIG Nick.

Watching this young man last night walk the stage in Thompson Boling Arena was weird, especially since I remember when we use to roll around wrestling and building play forts. All day play days were great days. Now he has all-day cook days making his own dough and sauces from scratch.

In honor of Nick's accomplishment my parents, Lauren and I complied a list of "What We have learned from our Big Nick"

The youngest son & little brother Lessons:

  • Why talk when you can text
  • Prime Rib and Spare Ribs are not the same
  • You don’t sweat as much if you stay inside
  • You get what you ask for, so be specific
  • A car can run with no oil … but not for long
  • Bruno train sets and Lincoln logs make great forts for all day play days
  • Putt-Putt is always fun, no matter if it takes 8 times to get the ball in
  • Transfer of the title of the 4Runner means transfer of purpose – it becomes a wrecking ball – “what car behind me”

  • UT football passion can be taught and passed on

  • Cooking from a box is of the devil

  • Fifteen minutes of driving = ten minutes of napping

  • Showering is not a daily necessity if you have Axe body spray
  • Height is just in the eye of the beholder; big brother is always big brother
  • Why go to the symphony when you can get the same array of sounds playing X-Men
  • Why wipe the toilet seat when the next user will definitely have to do it

  • Little brothers watch and do what they learn from big brothers
  • TV is a soothing serenade for sleep

  • Friends should not just be guys, but girls and girls and girls too
  • Nothing better than little brother desserts for Valentine’s not even Sucre

  • Cookware is much like drum ware – get it all
  • Always look for fingers in the doorway before you shut a door

  • You can make it through childhood with out riding a bike
  • Sleepovers are longer than the night
  • Fluff on the dryer is quicker than ironing
  • Nothing’s more important than hanging with your friends
  • There is always tomorrow

  • Your body needs eighteen hours of sleep a day
  • That someone does need your advice

  • Seniors can find something to do every night of the week

                                            • All about tennis

                                            • There are other fun things to do at the beach that stay out of the contact with sand
                                            • Christmas is always better REAL-EARLY
                                            • Turtles don’t stay small for long, nor very clean for long
                                            • You can never dress too crazy for Spirit week
                                            • Even though you are taller, I am older
                                            • You are never too old for toys

                                            As my little brother you are one my favorite honored guest in NOLA

                                            Move over Emeril, Here comes BIG Nick

                                            Monday, May 11, 2009

                                            Weekend travels gave me this....

                                            I just arrived back in NOLA from my second of three Knox-Vegas travel weeks in May.

                                            Sister married last weekend

                                            Sarah graduated from UT this weekend

                                            And my little brother, who we call BIG Nick graduates this coming weekend from high school.

                                            Busy time for the Brichetto family.

                                            The main reason for this blog is to share with you a sermon clip from one of several I listened to on my 18 hours of road travel this weekend.

                                            Mark Driscoll is one of the pastors at Mars Hill in Seattle. We at Vintage Church read and listen to his preaching and teaching for equipping in our own personal ministry. He is currently one of the main voices for Evangelicals and for this I am so grateful. He unashamedly stands on the Bible, this is his source of authority and substance for all of his preaching. God is using him to reach many people. Mars Hill is the church that started the Acts 29 Church Planting Network, which Vintage has also just now become apart of.

                                            May 3 he preached a powerful message about humility.

                                            Below is a short clip.

                                            Link: Short Clip

                                            I would strongly encourage all ministers whether you are currently in leadership or are being raised up in a church to watch the entire sermon. It is long, over 1 hour, but very convicting.

                                            Link: Sermon

                                            I pray that God drives to everyone's heart and reveals places of pride in your life.

                                            Sunday, May 10, 2009

                                            It ain't over yet....

                                            Last Night Sarah and I broke fast by enjoying a steak at Outback. It was not the best one ever, but we were given a gift which made it free and that's always good. We learned a lot through this journey which I will post later this week. Today is the last devotional for Daniel. I pray that God has spoken to you through the study of His Word.

                                            Sunday May 10: Daniel 12
                                            In the end the ultimate victory goes to the Lord God Almighty. Satan and his followers will receive judgment and shame while God’s children will receive honor and everlasting life. Until then our job is to be vessel that God uses to lead people to His righteousness that is found in Jesus through faith. (v.3 & Romans 3:21-24) There is an allotted inheritance awaiting the ones that faithfully finish the strong. Today direct your focus towards going your way until the end. (v.13)
                                            Deeper Study: 1 Corinthians 15 Rely on the same power that resurrected Christ

                                            I write this as I drink my first cup of coffee in 14 days. I never experienced withdraws which I thought I would. Reflecting on this has brought Paul's words to the Corinthians to my mind.

                                            Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.

                                            Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. 27No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize. -- 1 Corinthians 9:24-27

                                            The life in Christ is the supreme treasure in all of the the world. There is life with Christ and life without Christ and the life without is no life at all.

                                            Saturday, May 9, 2009

                                            Bad situations need a Mighty One

                                            Saturday May 9: Daniel 11
                                            In spite of present evil situations, God is in control! He has always been and will always be sovereign. The prophecy given in this chapter is amazing when you read history and see that everything God shows Daniel is fulfilled in exact specificity. God knew and controlled the Babylonians, Persians, Alexander the Great and his four sons. When the antichrist arises in power and unleashes havoc God will still be in control. Daniel concluded by saying “Yet he shall come to his end, with none to help him.” (v.45) This infinitely powerful God guiding the events of history also daily extends His guiding hand to each Christian. Where, what or how do you need God to be your guidance?

                                            Deeper Study: Compare yourself with Gideon (Judges 6 & 7)
                                            Ask God for direction in that area in life that you most currently need Him.

                                            Friday, May 8, 2009

                                            Use your free iPhone....

                                            Friday May 8: Daniel 10
                                            John Piper described prayer as a wartime walkie-talkie for the mission of the church against the evil one. Daniel experienced spiritual warfare in this chapter as evil forces challenged his prayers. But the resistance made him even more fervent and earnest.(v.12-13) In the same way that the iPhone and Blackberry are powerful tools in the hands of business professional, faithful prayer is in the hands of Christians. Set your heart today to the task of asking your heavenly Father for understanding, strength and the Words of Life to speak. Use prayer for the proclamation of God’s Glory.

                                            Deeper Study: Meditate on Ephesians 6:10-20 Prayer is for wielding the Word

                                            Thursday, May 7, 2009

                                            Two Powerful days in Daniel...

                                            Sorry I didn't get a chance to post yesterday. I encourage you to read both.

                                            Wednesday May 6: Daniel 8
                                            Daniel was so overcome by the visions of the future suffering of his people that he was set back a few days.(v.27) At this point Daniel didn’t fully understand the vision. Further details were to come later, but until then Daniel got on with his work. When you think about the enormity of task in front of Vintage New Orleans, how do you respond? Today let these thoughts drive you to diligently pursue sharing with people how they can become a child of God.
                                            Deeper Study: Soak up Luke 15 God’s heartbeat is to find that which is lost.

                                            Thursday May 7: Daniel 9
                                            Daniel’s prayer stands as the model prayer for us to follow as we intercede on the behalf of New Orleans, North America and the world. The beginning (v.4) the end (v.17-19) and everything in between is primarily focused on God. God honoring and glorifying prayers are ones that have Him placed at the center. God does all that He does because He is who He is. (v.17-18) The answer for accomplishing Vintage’s world vision of reaching the nations must be found in God Himself. (v. 19) This type of prayer has an impact upon our daily life because we realize that God is even more passionate about His interests and purposes than we could even imagine. Today use this chapter as you pray and like Daniel bring God’s greatness and glory into your prayers for His sake.
                                            Deeper Prayer: Use Nehemiah 1:4-11 to help you be in continuous prayer today.

                                            Listen to Rob's sermon on Prayer from Sunday.

                                            Tuesday, May 5, 2009

                                            Give me some Power!

                                            Today is a big day because we are now half through the Detox Fast. In the devotion a shift also happens today from historical to apocalyptic.

                                            An Apocalyptic summary statement: “I have a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore Toto.” Daniel and Revelation are two of the most different and difficult books to understand in the Bible. Both are known as apocalypses, carrying the meaning of disclosure. The message communicated through an apocalypse is that the future prediction of God’s action is something that would break into the present. Daniel 7 makes a major transition in the book, turning from stories about Daniel and his three friends (Chap. 1-6) to Daniel’s visions of the future (Chap. 7-12). Daniel’s visions revealed that the Messiah would be the ruler of a spiritual kingdom that would overshadow all other earthly kingdoms. Even though the second half contains what some might consider weird images and symbols, this section is still God’s revelation of truth to his people. So let’s dive into His message to us as we continue in this present spiritual battle between God’s children and Satan.

                                            Tuesday May 5: Daniel 7
                                            The most important truth that comes from Chapter 7 is the vision Daniel receives regarding the sovereignty of God. The Most High is the supreme ruler that controls history and human nature. This is at the core of the Gospel that we share with our friends and coworkers. At one time we were all eternally separated from God, but the amazing thing is that God did the impossible by making a way to us through Jesus Christ. (Rom 3:23-24) The Most High is a conqueror and His saints receive the eternal kingdom. (v.17-18) Will you live in the power and victory of the Most High today?

                                            Deeper Study: Colossians 1:15-29 Commit yourself anew today to the Gospel.

                                            Monday, May 4, 2009

                                            Gut Reaction...

                                            Sorry that I missed the past two days devos, had a really busy weekend. If you want to read them check out Vintage Website.

                                            But I'm back today with one of probably my favorite chapters in all of Daniel.

                                            Monday May 4: Daniel 6
                                            This chapter is packed FULL of meaning and application for our Christian life. Today focus in on prayer as exampled in verses 10-11. When a law was published against prayer, Daniel’s immediate response was to go home, kneel down and PRAY! Prayer was an integral part of his daily life. Today if one of your lost friends barged in on you at home, where would you be found? Are you paying attention to earthly kings or your heavenly king who is the King of kings and Lord of lords? Today get so actively involved in sharing your faith that you have to passionately pursue guidance and strength from God.

                                            Deeper Study: Compare the pictures of the living God in Daniel 3:8-30 & 6:16-27
                                            Allow these passages to explode your view of God, who is more than able!

                                            I hope that prayer is always immediate in your life. Today is the most important day in your life.

                                            Friday, May 1, 2009

                                            Focus of Fasting....

                                            The book of Daniel is divided into two sections: the first half of the book provides a historical account and the second half is prophetic. The theme throughout is God’s sovereignty and power over all nations and powers. Yahweh is the one true God. All other gods are merely idols.

                                            Friday May 1: Daniel 3
                                            -Who or what has your full attention today?
                                            -Who are you serving today?
                                            -Who are you worshipping today?
                                            Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were three Jewish studs that trusted in the Most High God who is all-powerful and in whom there is no other. They committed to worship God more because of who He is whether than what He would or would not do. (v.17-18)

                                            Deeper Study: Examine how Paul defines the Christian life (Philippians 1:12-30)

                                            Ps. 90:12-17
                                            12 Teach us to number our days aright,
                                            that we may gain a heart of wisdom.

                                            13 Relent, O LORD! How long will it be?
                                            Have compassion on your servants.

                                            14 Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love,
                                            that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.

                                            15 Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us,
                                            for as many years as we have seen trouble.

                                            16 May your deeds be shown to your servants,
                                            your splendor to their children.

                                            17 May the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us;
                                            establish the work of our hands for us
                                            yes, establish the work of our hands.