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Posts Tagged ‘Francis Chan’

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WE ARE ALL IN IT TO END IT!

Today is Shine a Light on Slavery Day. This is the target day for End it Movement to reach the masses about the 27 million people being held in modern-day slavery and sex trafficking. This movement started in January at Passion 2013 and has made a lot of noise since. Everywhere college students and young adults are finding creative ways to talk about this issue. Many celebrities have jumped on board to use their star status to raise awareness. Awareness is doing the work and End It exists to help educate us about this injustice. We are the generation that can be a voice for those without one and put an end to slavery. Indifference is not an option. Draw a red X on your hand and talk to people about this. Go to EnditMovement.com and sign the pledge that says you are in it to END IT!

 

 

 

 

 

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END IT Sunday!

END IT Sunday!

Times Square IS IN IT TO END IT!

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The campus of Arizona State University is IN IT TO END IT!

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What an amazing night session! I can’t believe all that I’ve experienced so far. Next up was time with our community groups to download and process the day. I know God was speaking to me in many ways and I needed to talk and journal about it.

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Community Groups

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“Isn’t it interesting [that] secular science is addressing the question, ‘Does man have a soul? Is there such a thing as immaterial reality?’ And it’s couched in the category of ‘is there life after death?

I mean look, you guys know I ride a motorcycle don’t you? So, at any moment, especially with the idiot people who cross the diamond lane into my lane, alright, without any blinkers, not that I’m angry about it, but at any minute I could be spread out all over the 210 (Freeway), but that’s not me, that’s my body parts. That key distinction undergirds the entire Judeo-Christian worldview and also your pursuit of reality.”

Francis Chan shared this audio clip tonight from radio KKLA host Frank Pastore. He had been a guest on his show. Three hours after saying this over the air, Frank would be involved in a motorcycle accident that would lead to his death. Our first question in community groups tonight is what we thought of this audio clip. For me, it was a reminder that death is real and that we could go at anytime. We need to live our lives knowing that we can go at anytime.

The next two questions focused on ‘trust’ and how our lack of trust in people can spill into our relationship with God and why should we trust in God’s promises. I’ve always tried to live my life as an open book because it’s my testimony. But at the same time, my trust in people has diminished over the years. Lately I have developed deeper relationships with some of my friends despite my guarded heart. I need to continue to maintain my trust in God as these friendships continue to grow. This is evident in scripture as God has always been faithful and trusting to us despite our shortcomings.

What did I take away from this day? I really appreciated hearing Greg Haugen. I also love that Passion doesn’t just shove stats down our throats and then to do something about slavery. We have heard these past two days of how faithful and trusting God is and that we can’t effectively do justice without grounding ourselves in who He is first. Learning about who God is allows us to to learn who we are and what we are created to do.

After our discussion, Gregg Matte had several people stand up if they had received Christ today. All of us leaders cheered and celebrated with our new brothers and sisters of the Kingdom.

Our focus verse for the evening:

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“therefore I will hope in him.”

Lamentations 3:22-24

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Francis Chan

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Before Francis Chan came on, they showed us a powerful video of a girl from the Philippines who was sex trafficked at a very young age and then rescued by Love 146. It was very graphic but very real. But despite the what she went through, it was a message of hope. It was the hope of our redeeming Savior and how He came to rescue us. That girl is doing very well now. And you know what the cool thing was, she was here at Passion with us! It was so awesome to see her smiling face among all of us. What an amazing God story!

Here are my notes from Francis Chan’s talk:

God rescued us and puts that same Spirit and desire in us to rescue others

If you want to experience God, go make disciples. Francis and his team are now in San Francisco going door to door telling people about Jesus. We need to let go of our fears and go on the mission He has us on. He gives us the power we need to do so.

Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations

Deuteronomy 7:9

God’s promises can be trusted. We can trust the Word of God. What we have a tendency to do is let our lack of trust for people spill into our relationship with God. We like to prepare ourselves for the worse and keep our hearts guarded. We see in 2 Timothy 2:11-13 that Timothy is experiencing fear because his mentor (Paul) is about to die. But Paul writes to him and tells him not to be fearful. Paul isn’t afraid of death because he knows of the joy of living with Christ. Even when we are fearful, God will remain faithful. He can’t deny who He is.

We will always have pressure to the end (Rev 2:10). But if we endure, we will reign with Him (Hebrews 3:14). God fights for us so we don’t have to endure this life on our own (Jeremiah 32:40). But at the same time, if we deny Him, He will deny us (Matthew 10:32-33). We like to trust in the promises of God’s blessings, but not in His promises of His wrath and consequences because of our disobedience (Deuteronomy 7:10). An example of this is Pharoah of Egypt in which God promises His wrath of plagues if he didn’t let His people go.

In Hosea, we see how God asks him to marry a whore as a demonstration to Israel how unfaithful they have been to Him. Hosea ends up buying his wife back even though she leaves him. God wants us back despite our unfaithfulness to Him. He wants to cleanse us from our unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). Be like a child and get excited – we can trust His promises! (Revelations 21:1-5)

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I had a nice quiet walk back to the Georgia World Congress Center. I was beat from the night before and was going on five hours of sleep. We start off each day in our community groups and I spent my walk preparing my heart for the day.

Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.

John 15:4-5 (ESV)

Francis Chan opened up our community group with this passage of scripture. We can’t do anything apart from God. Satan likes to distract us from abiding in Him by the thoughts he puts in our heads. We look at others and envy what God is doing in them. This is due to our own pride and arrogance. We need to humble ourselves before the Lord and hope we are abiding in Him.

Francis gave the example of leaders. Do we follow them because of their knowledge and communication skills? If anything we should be paying attention to how they walk with God. There should be something attractive about them that we are not be able to describe. That’s the power of God shining through someone abiding in Him.

Insecurity and Pride go hand in hand

Even though I empathize with them, I truly believe this. Insecure people make life all about them and believe in the crazy thoughts that Satan puts in our heads. I know this from my own personal battle with insecurities and from others that I have done life with. Things like social media fuel our arrogance and make it hard to lead. We need to put those thoughts aside and just abide and rest in Him. Disconnect from the voices and get back to who you were when you first believed.

Now this is the part that really hit me. Francis talked about that child-like faith we had when we first believed and how we need to get back to it. I met with my community group and couldn’t stop sobbing. My mom used to work two jobs just so I could go to camp and other youth events as a kid. I remember at one of my first camps a bunch of us went wandering in the woods of Prescott and got lost (we were about 12 years old). After a few hours, there was this one kid that started to freak out and couldn’t stop crying. I remember walking up to him and telling him that God will pull us out of this and I prayed for him. I can honestly say I just don’t do that much anymore. I couldn’t stop crying because I don’t know what happened to that child-like faith that I used to have as a boy. I was the little boy who read the passage about having faith like a mustard seed and being able to move mountains and literally stood in front of a mountain and truly believed God would raise it up. That’s child-like faith – believing that God can do the impossible! The best and worst thing that has ever happened to me is I went into ministry. I’m always thankful of the opportunities I had but at the same time it fueled my insecurities. I pray that I continue to humble myself before Him and abide in Him.

Francis Chan

Francis Chan

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I was chatting with my friends Mat and Lisa Weddle from my Missional Community and we were reminiscing on how exactly six years ago today (New Years Eve) we were boarding a plane with thirty other young adults to be a part of Passion in Atlanta. For them, it was where they first met and they are now married today. My friends Brian Wurzell and Promise and Steve Adame and Liz met on that trip and they too are married and doing amazing stuff for the Lord. For people like myself, Shauna and Amaris, it was the trip that God called us into cross-cultural missions. They both ended up serving on the field for some time. It was a pivotal trip for many of us from that amazing community that were led by Pastor Ron Merrell. I heard God speak through Francis Chan for the first time that year. Chris Tomlin’s version of “Fire Fall Down” reminded me of my broken life and how God was putting me back to together to do years of ministry following that trip. Ben Stuart’s message on singleness was the best message I have ever heard on how God can use us as single people. I used that message to start a group for newly divorced people and how God can use them at this time to do amazing things for Him. But the impactful part of that trip was Louie Giglio’s message on how heaven will be a party for the nations. That message blew me away and opened the door for me to engage with God’s heartbeat for the world.

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Passion ’07

I had an amazing conversation today with my friend Amber at 8th Day Coffee and Culture. We were talking about our creative gifts and how God uses them for His purposes. She has been getting a lot of pressure to sign with a major record label. Her heart is just to share her music with the world and how God healed her from a difficult time. For me, I hope never to have to make money off of anything creative I do. I am blessed to have a job that provides more than enough for me to do life. I personally want to use my creative talents for the Kingdom and to share with others. We were talking about how easy it is to make our gifts about ourselves and not about the Lord.

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It’s New Years Eve and I am so thankful for where I am at in life. It’s been an incredible year for me and I feel focused for the first time in a few years. My friend and mentor described my year like this: He said I’m like a plant and God put me into a pot to grow and heal me for a little while because there were some things He needed to work on. The soil represents the healing power of God working in my life. But now he sees God taking me out of that pot and putting me back into world to allow me to continue to serve Him. I do feel that. I feel God is ready for me to begin to go back to work and be a light for Him. And honestly, I don’t know what that is and I love that. This is where my faith and trust in God comes in and allows me to stay on His path.

IMG_1462I do know that God is about to reveal some of His plan for me. Through teaching from amazing influential people and reading His word, God is syncing my heart to His heart for injustice and mercy. I’ve gone about this all wrong for some time. I saw trafficking firsthand in Cambodia for the first time in 2008 and God opened the door for me to learn more about it. Failed opportunities to go to Fiji and other chances to engage were due to me following my own wants and desires and making life about me. I’m done needing approval from other people for my sense of self-worth and being a one-man show trying to save the world so I can feel better about myself. Now God has put me back into a position to be a part of His plan for justice and I want to be attentive to just following His will. It’s about the gospel and the message of God redeeming a fallen world. God is aligning me to Him and I look forward to learning more about topics like slavery so I can be an effective tool for Him.

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Cambodia ’08 – my first exposure to human trafficking

I also was convicted by a passage in Luke 5 this week in which Simon Peter falls to knees in worship when Christ invites him to drop what he is doing and follow Him. When was the last time I dropped to my knees in worship to the Lord? I honestly don’t have an answer to that. I want to be in worship everyday with my Lord and Savior. I want Him to be my first priority in all I do. God has done so much for and hasn’t given up on me. I want my life to reflect on His grace and for others to see Jesus when they meet me.

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“And when a great crowd was gathering and people from town after town came to him, he said in a parable, ‘A sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some fell along the path and was trampled underfoot, and the birds of the air devoured it. And some fell on the rock, and as it grew up, it withered away, because it had no moisture. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up with it and choked it. And some fell into good soil and grew and yielded a hundredfold.’ As he said these things, he called out, ‘He who has ears to hear, let him hear.'”

Luke 8:4-8 (ESV)

There have been many times in my life that I have been the good soil. Those are the times I am faithful and find myself living my life fully for Christ. But if I were honest with myself, I have been the seed in the thorns most of my life. I am guilty of serving “leftovers” to God because of my own desires for a comfortable life. I become distracted and fall to the ways of the world. God warns us many times of the dangers of being a lukewarm Christian. His harshest words are to those that maintain a minimal commitment to Him and don’t pursue Him passionately. We need to take words of Jesus at face value and allow them to impact us.

“If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”

Matthew 16:24-25 (ESV)

As I look back on my life, my faith was mostly shaped by how I was raised in the church. I was exposed to a fear-based type of Christianity growing up. I gave my life to Christ because I didn’t want to go to hell. I struggled with guilt and shame when I was caught in sin. Jesus calls us to let go of everything and follow Him. This is what I learned later in life when I gave my life to Christ. I learned that His grace covers us. His love for us should cause us to respond with an all-consuming love for Him. He wants our best. We need to adopt a posture of obedience where we let go of everything we have and joyfully cling to God.

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“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.”

Matthew 13:44

This verse shows the correct response of someone who understands God’s crazy relentless love for us. I will admit I wasn’t a huge fan of this chapter. The majority of the chapter is Francis Chan describing a list of lukewarm Christians. The list goes on and on. So was my frustration because the chapters drags on too long or because I saw myself in this list? I definitely know I’m not the perfect Christian. The chapter gives some valid points on how lukewarm Christians can be a distraction to those who want to sincerely follow Jesus. I have the same frustrations with Pastors and churches that are more concerned with numbers and preaching a “seeker friendly” message to attract viewers or with Christians whose faith is just for show. Jesus spoke in parables to weed out those who weren’t interested in the truth of the gospel (not because He didn’t care about them).

I think for me, I don’t want to just be living for God out of conviction or to live up to a standard. I don’t want a desire to just be “good enough”. All I have to do is think back to when God rescued me and how patient He has been with me since then to know He loves me. I want to pursue God with my whole being and have all my actions flow out of a heart for Him. I know the only way to live this life for God (and not of one who is half-hearted) is to truly love Him. I pray everyday I am in awe of how great and how good God is.

“We love because He first loved us”

1 John 4:49

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Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.

Mark 12:30

In this chapter we focus on God’s amazing and unconditional love for us. But it also asks us to reflect on our earthly father and how that relationship shaped our view of God. For me, my Dad was a provider. He worked long hard hours to make sure we had what we needed. But what he missed out on was being there for us. I learned many lessons of life on my own through trial and error. So for me to fathom knowing God is always there for me when I need Him is hard for me. I have always relied on myself to get things done and for the most part found myself in some jams because of it.

I know I can never fully understand God’s love for us. But I experience it by spending time focusing on how good He is and how He is always there for me. Even through the trials of life, God has been there and has restored me and gotten me through some difficult times. He blesses me and uses me for His purposes. But what always awes me the most is when He chases me when I drift away from Him. God has never given up on me even when I screw up.

God doesn’t have to love us, but He does. And nothing can separate that love He has for us.

What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written:

“For your sake we face death all day long;
    we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:31-39

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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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