"The entire ESV Bible on audio is usually about 75 hours (or 4500 minutes). If you commute to work 5 days a week, that’s about 260 days a year. And if it takes you, say, 17 minutes to commute each way to work—and if you listen to the Bible on audio during your drive each way—you’ll get through the entire Bible twice in a year. This probably isn’t the only way to do Bible intake—but it’s one most of us should take advantage of more." from Bible Reading Plans for 2012
Saturday, December 31, 2011
Monday, November 21, 2011
- Fathers read: "How I Pastor My Family" - Justin Hyde
- Mothers read: "Missional Mothering" - Jani Ortlund
- Singles read: "8 Reasons Why Single Men Should Work in the Church Nursery" - Mark Driscoll
Thursday, November 17, 2011
- She loves and follows Jesus Christ.
- She is the most fascinating person I know.
- She is my "excellent wife" which Solomon spoke about in Proverbs 31.
- She is compassionate and cares for people.
- She laughs at my jokes.
- She makes me look better in pictures.
- She has been by my side through my high-school years when I was awkward, my college years when I matured, my seminary years when I sought clarity in God's call and now my pastoral years as I serve Christ at Vintage Church.
- She is my great helper, spoken about in Genesis 2, who builds me up and supports me.
- She doesn't have braces anymore.
- She prays Psalm 67 and serves Christ in New Orleans alongside me.
Thursday, October 13, 2011
Yesterday morning I met my friend Mary for a run through the streets of our beautiful Uptown neighborhood. Mary is training for a half marathon at the end of the month, and occasionally she cuts her distance and pace and indulges by running (or walking) with me. Mary is an inspiration to me in many ways, including simply the fact that she’s running a half marathon, given her history and former life, but yesterday she offered some sage advice that I’d been needing to hear.
As we were running - actually, I think I had to stop to walk at this point, but you get the picture - I was talking to Mary about how training is going for her big race. She shared that her training group has been one of the greatest encouragements she could ask for. I thought that was interesting given that her group is all women. I feel like in general getting a group of women together instantly breeds the potential for gossip, drama, tears, etc. But Mary said that this group is so encouraging, urging one another on, sharing stories from their past, celebrating victories and having each other’s backs. She then shared some words of wisdom that spoke directly to my heart, because they have more to do with life than with running.
Mary said that it is so important when you’re training for a race, or just running in general, not to compare yourself to those you are running with. You face different obstacles, have a different history, and are running with different goals in mind. Mary runs to give glory to God for saving her out of a really destructive lifestyle. She said she doesn’t compare herself to the other ladies she runs with. It wouldn’t be beneficial for anyone. With her focus set intently on her goal, all her training group will ever be is an encouragement because that is all she allows it to be.
Then (this is such a GOD thing), Mary forwarded me an email from her training group leader, sent yesterday after we ran, here are a couple of quotes that struck me as well.
- “People run for a lot of different reasons. You've got to understand why you do it, and understand that the person next to you has different goals and incentives. Work on meeting YOUR goals--you might find out that the person next to you is aimed in an entirely different direction than you--and that's ok--running is for everyone to find their own happiness within.”
- “Be proud to be the runner you are. We all exist on a HUGE continuum. There will always be people ahead of us. There will always be people behind us. “
Both of these nuggets of truth resonated with me. Here’s the deal: if I don’t know why I run, I am ALWAYS going to compare myself to others. And, as Mary’s trainer mentioned, there will ALWAYS be people ahead of me.
I am competitive by nature, and have been blessed with gifts in certain areas that allowed me to excel in most anything I tried growing up – school, dance class, sports, etc., so I never really worried about being competitive; I was always near the front of the pack or the top of the list. However, when it comes to running, well….it just doesn’t come as naturally to me. I really have to try. If my goal when I run is to be the fastest or the best or whatever, I am never going to be satisfied. Because I will never be the fastest or best, I could continually be disappointed. However, if I run for the fun of it, to be in shape, or like Mary, to glorify my God, then there is no disappointment to be had. Sure, there might be days were I run further or faster than others, but what pressure is relieved when I acknowledge that I am not doing something for me, but for God!
This message goes right along with our Vintage Women Bible Study material. Last week we talked about insecurities being one thing keeping us from recognizing and living in the joy that we have been chosen by God. One of the biggest struggles I have in regards to insecurity is feeling like I don’t stack up against some of the great examples of Godly women that surround me. I spend too much time comparing myself, thinking “I should be more like her. She has it all together”. Or “She sure does seem to be in touch with the Lord. I bet she does X,Y and Z. How much happier God must be with her than me!” This also applies to people I work with. I sometimes struggle when coworkers get praise when I don’t or get opportunities that I don’t. Aren’t those awful ugly thoughts? Maybe it’s too much for me to share them so publicly, but, they represent things that have gone through my mind, so I might as well put them out there.
In this week’s study, we are learning to be fully satisfied by Jesus, who is our Bread from Heaven, Living Water, our Sustainer. Being completely satisfied with Him and in His plan for me will free me from feeling like I must try to prove anything to anyone. And if I am focused on doing the work or running the race or living the life I am called to live, then I won’t spend time comparing myself to others. I will also be able to celebrate with them for their achievements and encourage them during low points as we all strive to run our race well. I won’t have time or energy to focus on negative thoughts or comparisons, which represent a very outward and worldly focus as because I will be keeping my gaze on the prize which is before me.
I am so thankful for all the women in my life who encourage and inspire me. This week I am praying that I would stop comparing myself, that I would live in the freedom of knowing I am chosen, and that I would continue to recognize my purpose. For me, that purpose is ultimately to give thanks and praise and glory to the One who created me in everything that I do. I pray that I would soak up and live confidently in that Truth, and would become so focused on my relationship with the Lord and my desire to love and serve Him that I can only be happy for and encourage those around me.
Just a quick list of a few questions I’ve pondered these past days:
- Why do I run (or do anything)? What is my purpose?
- What are my goals?
- Do my attitude, my thoughts, my actions, indicate that I am confident in my goal or purpose? If not, how can I change that?
Monday, October 3, 2011
Thursday, September 15, 2011
Thursday, September 1, 2011
Monday, August 29, 2011
This past Sunday Pastor Rob concluded our study of 1 Corinthians 7 and the marriage problems that Paul addresses in this passage.
Thursday, August 18, 2011
As a Vintage church family we are studying 1 Corinthians 7 and marriage problems that Paul addresses in this passage over the next 3 weeks. I'd encourage you to connect to one of our Community Groups and gather with us on the weekends.
This past Sunday Pastor Rob discussed biblical marriage - listen to "Do it God's Way"
In response, I'd like to share two links with my married friends to begin to incorporate this week:
****Thanks to my friend Jason Dukes for posting these on his blog.
Look through these lists.... be sensitive to the Spirit's work in your spouse's life.... and have fun discovering more.
"But each has his own gift from God, one of one kind and one of another." -- 1 Corinthians 7:7
"this is why a man leaves father and mother and cherishes his wife. No longer two, they become 'one flesh.' This [Marriage] is a huge mystery, and I don't pretend to understand it all. What is clearest to me is the way Christ treats the church. And this provides a good picture of how each husband is to treat his wife, loving himself in loving her, and how each wife is to honor her husband." -- Ephesians 5:31-33 [The Message]
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
As a part of this study, Pastor Rob, Annabeth, Sarah and myself are hosting a date night for married, engaged and dating couples on Friday night August 26th. We want you to take a night and come enjoy a date with dinner, dessert, a fun activity and conversation regarding the importance of dating within marriage.
As Pastor Rob has mentioned, an important aspect of every marriage involves friendship. This is because marriage is relational at the core. So together husbands and wives must constantly cultivate their marital relationship. At times this can be really tough, but other times this can be really fun.
We Bricks are proponents of setting a consistent time each week to learn about each other. A majority of the time this involves an evening, when we focus solely on one another. Other times this is a hour over a cup of coffee or Sucre gelato. We have found this to be an effective way to grow closer together as spouses and friends.
4 reasons that I personally advocate date nights:
- Dates are fun - let’s be honest, life is draining. Most of us work long hours in jobs that easily consume our entire life. But is that paycheck really all that there is to life? When I was in high school, my mom always encouraged me to enjoy time with friends & Sarah because “you’ll work the rest of your life.” She was right. Some days work is a real toil. So I’d encourage you to escape the strains, struggles, stresses and deadlines at least once a week with your spouse by trying a new restaurant or a coffee shop.
- Dates open communication lines - Sarah and I like each other so much that we usually try to eat dinner together a couple nights of the week. The difference is that most of those nights we usually have work, chores or errands to complete after dinner. For example, tonight after our dinner I am now sitting in bed writing this blog as Sarah sleeps. But our weekly date night is a particular night when we intentionally focus on each other.
- Dates produce greater sexual intimacy - According to psychologist Kevin Leman in Sex Begins in the Kitchen, sex is a powerful experience that creates strong emotional connections between partners. (pg.21) I completely agree and would add that good sex comes within a marriage in which both spouses are emotionally connected. Personally, I have discovered there is a reciprocal relationship between the two. An exclusive Redbook poll says: 70% of couples end an evening date intimately. Now the ultimate goal of a date night is not the bedroom. Instead the goal is engaging one another. This involves discovering how his/her week has been, dreaming together about your future and discovering where he/she has been challenged in his/her relationship with God and others. But remember that you both will end every night in bed because this is where most people sleep. Therefore this gives you the opportunity to enjoy your spouse (sexually) after learning something new about them (emotionally). So if you are currently frustrated either emotionally or sexually maybe discuss if there might be a correlation that might lead back to the opposite side of the same coin which you need to work to improve.
- Dates treat your wife like she deserves - I’m unapologetically a romantic because this is what I have found that Sarah desires from her husband. In response I take lead to plan a majority of our date nights where I surprise her with new restaurants, hold her hand, buy her flowers and snuggle with her. For one of our couple friends they go sailing, play sports and ride bikes together. Husbands do you know how your wife feels/receives love? Take a night to ask your wife; listen and communicate your love through that way.
Remember a strong marriage comes from constant cultivation. If you think calling it date night is cheesy then call it something else, but make sure to take time to develop your relationship.
- Date: Aug 26th
- Time: 7pm - 10pm
- Cost: $40 per couple
- Includes dinner by YoBreaux, dessert by a local pastry chef, and a Big Artsy painting session
- Address: Vintage Uptown 4523 Magazine Street, NOLA
- Bring your own beverages
**Parents get a babysitter for the night and come join us for this time of fun.
There's not a better deal out there August 26th, so sign-up at a gathering this weekend!
Monday, August 15, 2011
Tuesday, August 9, 2011
Thursday, August 4, 2011
***I misquote the percentage of Evangelical Christian in this video. 1.1 million people, with 7% Evangelical Christian.
I love the passion with which Chaz still speaks of our city, New Orleans. To follow God's work in San Diego through this new work for the Gospel check out Restore San Diego Now
- Cornelius - a God-fearer, a Gentile who needed the Gospel
- Peter - a Converted Christian, who shared the Gospel
- Restaurants from every country in the world [Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese, American, Mexican, French and New Orleanian]
- The Magazine Street pavers who I have met that don’t speak fluent English.
- The chef of my favorite Mediterranean restaurant speaks very broken English.
- The large number of Asian students studying at Tulane and Loyola.
- A drive from Nashville to Louisiana shows that there is not an overwhelming majority race living in Uptown.
- The Hispanic population has doubled in Metairie over the last 10 years.
- the forgiveness of sins is available for every person in every nation [v. 35]
- the forgiveness of sins is possible because of what Jesus Christ has done [v. 39-40]
- the forgiveness of sins comes through believing in Jesus Christ [v. 43]
I've encouraged our campus to begin to ask "Spirit-sensitivity" questions last week.
- Who is my Cornelius?
- Someone who thinks different than you ~ religiously
- Someone who smells different than you ~ economically
- Serve our City
- Serve our Nation
Monday, July 25, 2011
Here are the 3 Truths that form our Spirit sensitivity
- They had been waiting.
- Jesus’ disciples waited [Acts 1]
- the Spirit fell [beginning Acts 2]
- the Church was formed [ending Acts 2]
- now every Christian has been launched to serve Christ through our mission [Acts 3-28].
Since the Spirit has fallen this means that today if you’ve surrendered your life to Christ you don’t need to wait, you now need to go!
- They were given the Spirit.
-The Holy Spirit is a gift.
Scripture says - the Spirit has fallen on everyone who has called on the name of the Lord. Therefore if we have surrendered our life to Christ we also have been given this gift. Like Peter & John served the mission as an outflow of this gift, we too have been given the gift to serve.
-The Holy Spirit is a person.
God hasn’t just given us just a talent or an unknowable power - he has given us His Spirit, who is a person. In the same way we grow with a spouse or friend through talking, listening, sharing and serving - we also need to cultivate our relationship with the Spirit through praying, journaling, reflecting and listening.
- They began to serve the mission. -
-to Notice a man in need (v.4)
-to Listen to him (v.3)
-to Respond with the Gospel (v.7-8)
In response to this passage, let each of us live with a new perspective on our everyday life. Let us live each day with a Spirit sensitivity.
How is the Spirit working in the lives of our spouse and friends?
How is the Spirit working in the lives of our neighbors?
How is the Spirit working in the lives of our coworkers?
How is the Spirit working in your life right now?
- Like Peter & John let us: Notice - Listen - Respond with the Gospel
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
- The Master goes out FIVE times in the parable seeking and enlisting laborers to work the vineyard - early morning (v.1), 3rd hour (v.3), 6th hour (v.5), 9th hour (v.5), 11th hour (v.6). As the Master's laborers, we really don't have any room to be prideful given that He has called, saved and enlisted us as laborers in the Kingdom. Our foundation to serve in the Kingdom is a response of gratitude to God's generous grace seen in the way that He responded to our need through Jesus Christ.
- The Master calls all of the laborers in order to pay. (v.8) Each laborer receives a denarius. On my first read I felt as if the first laborers deserved more having worked longer, all day, than the rest of the laborers. This is an example of my pride, "That's not fair, those first laborers have been sweating longer and working longer." But again I'm confronted with God's generous grace. The denarius that each laborer gets paid is the normal wage for a day, in this way the Master provides for the daily provision for each laborer. As a laborer of the Master, I should be thankful for the ways in which God's grace provides for and meets my daily needs. This is because honestly worrying about other laborers is simply above my pay grade.
- What's your role within God's kingdom?
- Are you ever jealous of what God has given to another laborer?
Sunday, July 17, 2011
In my opinion, a big part of marriage involves living and laughing together.
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
Sunday, July 3, 2011
- July 3rd - Needing Christ through our prayer.
- July 9th/10th - Pursuing Christ through our study.
- July 16th/17th - Reflecting Christ through our relationships.
- July 23rd/24th - Serving Christ through our mission.
- July 30th/31st - Being Christ through our campus.
• Praise Him for who He is.
• Use this time to set your affections on Him.
• Pray that we would be Submitted to God’s will.
• Pray His concerns would be our concerns.
• Ask for focus to be His servants rather than being concerned about what we can get from Him.
• Pray He will increase your love for Christ and give you a greater desperation to know Him intimately.
• Ask for boldness and faith to attempt things for Christ so impossible that only God can get the glory for showing up.
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
- Husbands plan, prep, and go all out for your weekly date night.
- The importance of community can never be understated.
Thursday, May 12, 2011
For us Louisianans there is a system of sp
One of the options that the Louisiana state officials have is to open the Morganza Spillway. In the scenarios I’ve seen, opening this spillway would flood some rural areas in order to not flood the cities. Note the small arrow in the bottom left: "There should be no flooding in the Metro Area [New Orleans]"
The dilemma to flood one area in order to avert a flood in another area which this rising Mississippi River has caused is a tough decision. In fact it’s one that is above my pay grade. Honestly I’m perfectly fine with that reality. But I do find this interesting, the decision of choosing “the lesser of two evils”....
Friday, April 8, 2011
- Elevate [April 22]: we will unite as the church to pray for the Homeless - location Vintage Campuses @ 7pm
- Give [April 23]: we will unite with others in our city to provide for the Homeless - location Tipitina’s Uptown @ 7:30pm [Benefit Concert Information]
- Gather [April 24]: we will unite as the church to celebrate Jesus’ resurrection and life change available to the Homeless - location Dixon Hall on Tulane Campus @ 10am
What can you do?
Serve: We have volunteering opportunities on Saturday and Sunday, talk with your community group leader [connect to with a group] or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Donate: Bring toilet paper, paper plates and paper towels to our Easter Sunday Gathering for the New Orleans Mission.
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
I had the opportunity to preach at the Vintage Uptown Campus worship gatherings this weekend. Our theme was faithfulness and we looked at Moses in Numbers 27:12-20. This is the end of his life and from this passage we see 3 statements about faithfulness.....
- Faithfulness isn't solely based upon our actions for God (v.12-14)
- Faithfulness involves a trust in God & His purpose (v.15-17)
- Faithfulness passes the baton to someone else after our race is finished (v.18-20)
Click here to listen
Click here for our Discussion Guide [Awesome how God led our disci
pleship team and my heart in the same direction]
Click here to connect with a Vintage Community Group
I had an intense week preparing and wanted to share a reflection that I wrote in my journal.
My Journal (3/15/11)
[READ Deuteronomy 34]
We’re here at the ending of Deuteronomy, the next page is Joshua which accounts God’s purpose advancing as the people occupy the land. Israel did become a nation and remained in this land. At times these people follow the Lord wholeheartedly.
While other times these people disobeyed His commandments. Through those times God both punished, as with Moses in Numbers 20, and He also restored. Ultimately his salvific purpose for all people in the world continued through this nation. In fact for 1,000+ years through many kings, battles, seasons, God’s purpose continues.
Then one day a young teenage girl receives a house call from an angel of the Lord. A baby is born who name is Jesus. Who as the Son of God was the ultimate example of a faithful servant, even to the point of death on a cross for my sins. [Philippians 2:6-8] One of Jesus’ disciples, Matthew, works through his Gospel letter to Israel to show that Jesus is the greater Moses. Like Moses, Jesus not only serve God and furthered God’s purpose while here on earth; but before His departure He entrusted God’s purpose into the
hands of His disciples in such a way that the advancement, like the transition between Moses and Joshua, did not miss a beat. The church was birthed and God’s salvation which had been promised long ago was now realized and communicated through men and women throughout the world.
Now we, Vintage Church, are a small part of this body carrying the same mission to see God’s purpose advance in New Orleans and around the world. So in response:
- The desperation with which both Moses & Jesus interceded for people must be characteristic in our faith in God. [Exodus 32:7-14; 33:12-18, Numbers 14:11-20, Matthew 26:36-44, Luke 13:33-35]
- The sacrifice with which both Moses & Jesus faithfully served God must be characteristic of our faith in God.
- The priority for advancing God’s purpose above their individual lives within which both Moses & Jesus faithfully lived out, encourages us that with God’s Spirit guiding us, we too can be a faithful servant of God.
Moses prayed: Psalm 90:16-17
16 “Let your work be shown to your servants,
and your glorious power to their children.
17 Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us,
and establish the work of our hands upon us;
yes, establish the work of our hands!”
Conclusion: Faithfulness is a life I live as a result of what God has done for me which furthers His purpose and rightly trains someone else to continue God’s work.
I appreciate the opportunity to serve Christ alongside my staff and church family in our city. And after talking with Pastor Rob Sunday night and Monday, I'm stinkin' stoked for the next couple months. One area of prayer is our Easter Weekend - "EGG the Homeless"
Planning to blog and update everyone a little more over the coming weeks, until then I'm reading and writing.......53 days until May 14th aka Graduation from Graduate School.