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Posts Tagged ‘death’

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Erwin McManus was the guest speaker for tonight’s worship night at Hillsong Phoenix. He just wrote a new book called the The Last Arrow after his recent bout with cancer and was promoting it. Erwin is a long-time friend of Hillsong church and gave an amazing message about living a fearless life with no regrets before you die. His message comes from 2 Kings 13:10–24 when the king doesn’t make use of all the arrows in his quiver. When you reach the end of your days, will your quiver be full of arrows because you never launched them or will it be empty because you weren’t afraid to risk it all for God? I was able to purchase the book and meet Erwin afterwards. I’m looking forward to reading the book and doing a study of it in our young professionals group next year.

And he said, “Take the arrows,” and he took them. And he said to the king of Israel, “Strike the ground with them.” And he struck three times and stopped. Then the man of God was angry with him and said, “You should have struck five or six times; then you would have struck down Syria until you had made an end of it, but now you will strike down Syria only three times.”

2 Kings 13:18-19

Save Nothing For The Next Life

When you come to the end of your days, you will not measure your life based on success and failures. All of those will eventually blur together into a single memory called “life.” What will give you solace is a life with nothing left undone. One that’s been lived with relentless ambition, a heart on fire, and with no regrets. On the other hand, what will haunt you until your final breath is who you could have been but never became and what you could have done but never did.   * – from website

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Road trips are always a great way to process things. It gives you the opportunity to reflect and ponder life. This road trip in particular has been good for me because I’ve experienced so much recently and God has been working in my life as a result of these experiences. I’ve experienced the death of both my Grandmother and my uncle in the past two weeks. I had a wonderful Holy Week in which I was able to proclaim my faith in baptism. I’m doing life with some pretty amazing people and my family has bonded together in ways I haven’t seen in a long time. God is good and my Grandmother’s death has drawn me closer to Him. I’m headed out to Catalyst West Coast in Irvine, California. I first went to Catalyst in 2009 with a team of leaders from my previous church. I attended the year after as well and haven’t been back since. Now I find myself being called to these conferences to soak in some teaching and to learn from those that are leading the church today. God has been preparing my heart for some big plans recently and has been opening many doors for me already. I attended a conference for my counseling college in the Fall and started to pray to God about what He wanted me to do with the courses that I have been taking. Not too long later, God started to bring young men into my life in search of mentorship and now I am finding myself pouring into the lives of several men as of late. My spiritual life grew closer to God through worship and He has further shaped my heart to be a part of being a voice for this generation by seeking change in this world. This grew out of attending Passion in Atlanta. God further aligned my heart to His heart for justice in Philadelphia by the example of those that spearheaded the movement for justice before me. Now God is calling me back into leadership. I just completely eight weeks of leadership training, joined my church counseling team and started a missional community. Catalyst is a wonderful conference of teaching and equipping leaders in ministry and I’m excited He has called me to come back. I saw Brad Lomenick speak a couple of months back at PhoenixONE and it was confirmation that God wanted me to be back here in Irvine. I also have many friends from the many years I was in ministry that are going to be here and I’m excited to spend time with them. After arriving, I spent my first night in worship praising the Lord for how great He is on the beaches of Newport Beach watching the sun go down.

Newport

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Tonight I had to have that tough talk with my son about death. As a father you always look for opportunities to connect with your child about real life situations. But death is a hard one because you don’t know what goes on in a child’s head when it happens. I know the experience will be beneficial in the long run, but it’s still never fun.

A family from my former church was in a car accident and their 13-year-old was killed on Monday. He was a friend of my son’s and in his discipleship group. The church called me to let me know that night. Tonight his group leader took all the kids out to talk about it and to celebrate his life. I was in student ministries for many years and have led boys in this age group and it is not easy to try to chat with them about this subject. I know for me I try to do less talking and let them ask as many questions as they want.

When I told my son, he sat in silence for a bit. I asked him how he was doing and he said ok. I’ve grown really close to both my kids over the past couple years because of family tragedies. So I’m very thankful to the Lord for these moments to bond. My kids are growing up and will soon be on their own. I didn’t have a father who was there for me during the tough trials of life (I do now..), so it’s important for me to make sure I’m there for them. I pray for this family and I feel for their loss. Being a parent is a wonderful thing and I am so blessed that God gave me two great boys to raise. But this tragedy has made me realize I could lose anyone one of mine at anytime. So I’m going to cherish this moment I had with him to connect over this.

Please pray for the Galaska family who lost their youngest child in that accident. Their oldest child needs your prayers! Visit their CaringBridge page. Blessings!

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Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes

James 4:13-14

Life is short. Yet we don’t live like it is. We act like it’s all about us – that everything revolves around us. We go to funerals and we say things like – “he/she had a good life”. But do we really mean that? Can we really say that person lived their life fully for the Kingdom? We make life all about our goals and accomplishments. We treat relationships as they are disposable and don’t mend them. We spend our time making a name for ourselves and gathering attention to us. I like how the book describes how we make mini-kingdoms for ourselves. But do we think about how we can vanish from this world at any time? Years after your life is over, no one will probably care.

You know, I used to have a huge struggle with what people think about me. It’s still a struggle here and there, but God has really worked in this area of my life. I would please people, defend myself, brag about my accomplishments – anything to make myself look good to people. It makes me sick that this was how I spent most of ministry life. I’m not saying I didn’t do anything for God, but a lot of it was for my glory as well. God and I were this tag team. I no longer desire a life like this – I want to live a life worthy of God’s glory. I want an epic life that reflects God’s character and how amazing He is.

Last year I took a long look at my retirement savings and decided that I wasn’t putting enough into it to live off of when I retire. I decided to restructure my budget to put more money into it. Now I feel I’m in a better place for retirement if I stay on course and make it to my late 60’s. I laugh at this statement – If I make it to my 60’s. That’s just it – there’s no guarantee that I will make it to my 60’s. I could die today. And can I say that I lived my life fully for the Kingdom? These are the questions I want to continue to ask myself as I move forward in life.

It is better to go to a house of mourning
    than to go to a house of feasting,
for death is the destiny of everyone;
    the living should take this to heart.

Ecclesiastes 7:2

This part of the book really convicted me. It made me look at how busy I can make my life.

WORRY implies that we don’t quite trust that God is big enough, powerful enough, or loving enough to take of what’s happening in our lives. 

STRESS says that the things we are involved in are important enough to merit our impatience, our lack of grace toward others, or our tight grip of control.

Basically, these two behaviors communicate that it’s okay to sin and not trust God because the stuff in my life is somehow exceptional. Both worry and stress reek of arrogance. They declare our tendency to forget that we’ve been forgiven, that our lives here are brief, that we are headed to a place where we won’t be lonely, afraid, or hurt ever again, and that in the context of God’s strength, our problems are small, indeed.

Why are we so quick to forget God? Who do we think we are?

Philippians 4:4 says to Rejoice in the Lord always. We are to obey God and follow His ways. He doesn’t expect us to change the world or try as hard as we can. We need to trust that He is in control and depend on Him.

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