Monday, July 25, 2011

Serving Christ through our Mission

I had the privilege of teaching our Vintage Uptown Campus family this weekend at our 3 weekend worship gatherings. We are in the middle of an "Identity" Series. We are talking about who we are as Vintage Church. I discussed serving Christ through our mission by explaining the concept of Spirit sensitivity.

Listen here

Here are the 3 Truths that form our Spirit sensitivity
  • They had been waiting.
The important shift that happens in Acts can only be fully grasped when we understand that many past generations had been waiting for God to pour out His Spirit. Joel and Isaiah both prophesied about it. Jesus discussed this in John. So In Acts 3, post Pentecost, Peter & John are serving Christ because they know that the mission has begun.

Acts explains the shift:
- 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.
In order to better understand what/who we have been given there are 2 pictures of the Holy Spirit given in Scripture:

-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. -
Acts 3 is a story that shows two Christians [Peter & John] serving Christ through their mission. More inspiring is that this serving happened in their everyday as they were sensitive to the Spirit. They were not on a special trip or following a special emphasis. Instead they were headed to the normal afternoon prayer meeting. The principal from their example is that they were still doing what they had always done, but what had changed was their perspective on the the community, the people and their daily routine.

In Acts 3 we see their Spirit sensitivity naturally led them:
-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.

Here are some questions to ask as you live your everyday life:
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

Go BE the Church

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Dismantling Pride

Pride is one the most interesting sins. Murder, lying, sexual immorality and stealing are a little more clear cut and obvious in our culture. To even say "Oh, pride, that's not something that I struggle with," seems....well, a little prideful. But the reality is that the root of all sin is in our pride. This is where we become big fans of the "ME" team. This is when you and I see, desire and pursue something or someone for ourselves. For example we use statements like I want ____, They said no but I'm going to _____, They did ____ to me and so I'm going to ______ them.

Even the church experiences the manifestations of pride in the form of church splits, divorces, fights, competition and territorialism. Unfortunately the effects are felt from the pastors to every member, really no one is immune. Mark Galli wrote an article on the need to pray for your pastor. As a young pastor of Vintage Church, just a little over a year under my belt, I think my intensified battle in the area of pride since taking on this new role with the Body of Christ has been an interesting journey for me.

As I was recently reflecting God drew me to Matthew 20:1-16, which is an interesting parable that I haven't paid much attention to. As I read and meditated on this passage, God showed me that dismantling the pride in my life depends on my continual pursuit and surrender to the Gospel, which includes accepting His grace that is displayed here.

Note God's grace seen through the Master's activity:
  • 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.

In response to this parable I would offer us a couple of questions to consider
  • What's your role within God's kingdom?
-The reality is that if we have been saved by the Gospel then we each have been empowered to be a witness for the Gospel. In 1 Corinthians 12 Paul uses the analogy of different body parts to talk about how each of us are uniquely gifted by the Spirit as a part of the Body of Christ for a certain role. Some of us are left hands, other are ears, others are mouths and others are big toes. The message here is that all of us are equally valuable to the body as a whole. So I don't know your passions, gifts or desires but I do know that God desires to use them within a local church body for the work of the Kingdom. So I encourage you to connect with a local church body and serve.

  • Are you ever jealous of what God has given to another laborer?
-If we are honest we have all experienced times when pride has crept in and have been jealous of others. Sometimes this is because we wish we could have their role. Other times this is because we want to judge them in their role. And other times this is that we think we could do better than them. But Jesus' encouragement from Matthew 20:1-16 is to focus on God's generous grace in our lives. Again each of us are equal in value in Christ and have simply been called to faithfully follow Him in our own life. So let's quit complaining and start working for the Master to see others come into the Kingdom.


Sunday, July 17, 2011

If you're in need of a laugh read this blog....

In my opinion, a big part of marriage involves living and laughing together.

Take a minute and read Mrs. Brick's blog about something that happened last week - Are You Afraid of the Dark?

My morals of the story
(1) I love my crazy scaredy cat wife
(2) We have a blast together.
(3) We try to laugh together often.

"Laughter is the short distance between two people." – Victor Borge

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Reading, listening and watching this blog will improve your marriage

Time flies....

This time 2 years ago I was the Vintage Church summer mission intern and sweating to near death in the July NOLA heat. Just as memorable I was engaged to Sarah Monday that summer, now known as "the gorgeous Sarah Brichetto." During that summer I read several books and listened to several sermons in preparation to be a husband. Over the last 2 years there are many times that I have been reminded of and reflected on the truths I received from other men and women that summer.

Now as one of the pastors of Vintage, I frequently reference these principles with single men, engaged & married couples.

From my last 2 years I want to share with you 2 short books, a sermon and a music video that God continually uses to challenge me as a husband.

2 Books

*Although this is one of the smallest marriage books, it is packed with wisdom from the Mahaney couple.

* Chapter 3 "Learning, Leading and Loving" discusses the idea that deepening romance physically in our marriage is intertwined with touching our wife's heart and mind (emotionally connecting).

*Chapter 4 "How to Make it All Happen" gives some practical suggestions of how CJ has loved and romanced his wife Carolyn.

*You can get this book free in PDF by clicking here.

*Chapter 4 "Forgiveness and Forbearing," is one of the most challenging chapters that I have ever read regarding marriage.

* "The Compost Pile" concept discussed guides each of us into Gospel-centered, grace filled marriages.

*Listen to the "Forgiveness and Forbearing sermon by Dr. Piper - here

These books are super small and great short reads.


A Sermon - "Sanctification in Marriage"  by Matt Chandler

*He unpacks 1 Peter 3:1-7 and discusses healthy expectations and relations for both men and women in marriage. There are some real practical application given for all of our marriages.

*Listening to this sermon would be one of the most humbling and fruitful ways for both husbands and wives to spend an hour today. Listen separately and then discuss during a date night.


A Video - "Lead Me" by Sanctus Real

*This has been an anthem for me over the past few months as I have relied upon the Spirit to lead and love Sarah. I pray we will surrender our life in this area for our spouses or future spouses.

*Read a blog from Jason Dukes on leading in marriage.

*Also check out the story behind the song.

I'm thankful that we live in a time with internet which provides a wealth of resources for men to be godly husbands and women to be godly wives. Allow God's Spirit to use this resource at your finger tips to develop your marriage. Honestly this is a far better way to use the internet than any sport videos or hollywood gossip that can consume our life at times.

In conclusion, always remember that no matter how bad or good your marriage is currently; our hope is to be found in the Gospel which breaks through to offer repentance, forgiveness and restoration. Mrs. Brick and I are learning that this is an area that will always require constant cultivation.

Enjoy reading, listening, watching and then loving.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Identity: Needing Christ through our prayer

This past Sunday at Vintage Church we began a new series for the month of July called Identity. We are discussing who we are as a church family.

Our Plan
  • 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.

Our interns helped organize a time of corporate prayer during this first week of Identity. Cam Hyde and Rob Russell have rocked it out this summer hosting the outside volunteer teams. I have enjoyed the opportunity to spend time with these two young studs this summer. They have set a high bar for our future summer internships.

The guide created led us to pray individually, in groups and corporately for ourselves, our city, other churches and the lost. The emphasis points would be a great outline for you to use in your personal time with Christ.

-Individual Reflection - The question: "Who is Christ in your life?"

-Adoration (Matt 6:9)
• Take five minutes to adore God.
• Praise Him for who He is.
• Use this time to set your affections on Him.

-Submission (Matt 6:10)
• 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.

-Desperation (Matt 6:11)
• Pray for the Holy Spirit to help you recognize your complete dependence on 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.

I'd encourage you to make time this week as an individual, couple and Community Group to use this guide. For some of us we need to get up early, others need to print this out and put on our bathroom mirror, others need to take an intentional coffee break and others need to redeem their commutes.

Biblical promises on prayer:
-James 5:16 "the prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working."

-1 John 5:14-15 "And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him."

Live the Gospel, Love the City, BE the Church....