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Posts Tagged ‘pain’

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Passion 2017 got started as I spent my time at the resource booth selling shirts, CD’s, DVD’s and other merchandise. It was weird at first not being out in the seats listening to the worship music and sermon, but I knew God was using me so these college kids could be used by God. Ten years ago that was me out in those seats for the first time. Once things got underway, I was able to step out and listen during slow periods. I was blessed to have a great team of people to work with. The Passion Band got things started off with some new songs. Sean Curran introduced a new song called “Worthy of Your Name” which was powerful. Louie Giglio invited Dr. Charles Stanley to come up and open Passion with a prayer. Christine Caine spoke a powerful word on endurance. Crowder closed the session out and brought out special guest Carrie Underwood to sing with him on stage. It was an amazing night to kick off Passion 2017.

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Carrie Underwood and Crowder (Photo from Passion)

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End it Movement contacted me earlier this week to let me know that their road team would be swinging by Phoenix. End it Movement is a movement that was launched after Passion 2013 that is raising awareness for the 27 million being held in modern-day slavery. The road team is traveling state to state hitting churches and universities to challenge young adults and students to be a part of the movement. Tonight they set up shop at PhoenixONE – a worship gathering of young adults from all over the valley to promote unity of the church. I met up with Kyle and David – the guys driving the red and black End It vehicle all over the U.S. Seriously – great guys with a huge passion for this. I felt like I have known them forever with how welcoming they were. I helped run their table and tell the people of PhoenixONE what End it Movement was all about. It was awesome to see all the people who pledged to be a part of a generation that is in it to End It. We also had a ton of accessories and gear that we gave out to help promote this cause.

It was a special night for me as well as Jason and Jessica Williams of Session Nine photography led worship. They are long time friends of mine and I loved being here to hear them lead worship. Jeff Gokee gave an awesome message on Jehovah Rapha – one of the wonderful names of God that means the God of healing and restoring. His message was centered on how we as Christians rarely go to God first when we go through pain and trials. Tonight was a blessing and I’m thankful God used me to be a voice here in my own backyard for justice.

God heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds

Psalms 147:2

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Photo by Anna Dufek

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Josh Riebock

Life is a field. You aren’t alone.

I won’t forget tonight. Not only was it Election night, it was PhoenixONE and they had a special treat for us. Josh Riebock is a writer. He wrote a book called Heroes and Monsters and I had the chance to read it over the summer. The book tore me up. It’s a story about Josh’s relationship with his dad who was his hero. Despite the fact that his dad was his hero, he had a dark side to him. His dad was an alcoholic and Josh writes a book on how he couldn’t comprehend knowing who this guy was when he started drinking. His dad was his hero and yet he was a monster to him. It’s a great book on how the events of our lives and how they shape us. It’s about how we can be loving people and then switch and be the ugliest people in the world. It’s about the struggle inside us and how we can find hope in Christ through our trials and pain.

Josh talked about how God wants to take us to the depths of pain so we can learn and heal from it. We like to hide and stuff our junk and God wants to release us from it. He wants to give us freedom from the things we are scared of. I’m so thankful Josh came tonight and thankful to my former Pastor Ron for recommending his book to me. I had been corresponding with Josh before he came and he gave me a big hug when I introduced myself to him afterwards. I loved that I felt like an buddy of his and how welcoming he was. I’m a huge fan of transparent real guys and Josh’s story has been a blessing to me as I have experienced the same father pains as he has.

Andy Cherry led worship and I was able to bring a bunch of my friends with me. We were all impacted by Josh’s talk. But most of all, tonight was special because I got to bring my son. And for him him to hear a talk about father/son relationship while sitting with me was special. He got to hang out with me and my friends afterwards and I even let him stay up a little late even though he had school the next day. I am so thankful to the Lord for this special night for getting a chance to meet Josh and hang out with my son.

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With my bros and my son

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Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Matthew 5:10-12

Here are some facts about this Beatitude. It is the last and longest Beatitude. Jesus gets personal with it because He is directing it to a particular audience. He doesn’t downplay it at all and repeats it. It has a commandment and it goes from third person to second. Jesus states the inedible – if you follow Him, you will get persecuted. But He also says that if we are persecuted, we are blessed.

I love this quote from Keith Stewart “If you want to follow Jesus, you better look good on wood.”

 “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also.

John 15:18-20

Persecution comes from following Jesus, not from making irresponsible choices – there is a difference. Meek people choose their response, not by reacting to their circumstances. People will always push our buttons and we have a choice to respond in the way Christ would. When we are persecuted, we are persecuted because the world hates Christ, not us. Understand that Jesus feels our pain (Acts 9:9 – Jesus asks Saul why he is persecuting Him, not Christians). When we take matters in our own hands, we take them out of God’s hands. We can never get ahead by getting even (Romans 12:21). Just know that no one can take away our God-honoring response.

Jesus never enjoyed His sufferings. Rejoice in your sufferings doesn’t mean to enjoy them. Rejoice goes back to the source of joy despite what is going on. We can hate pain, but like the results it brings us. 1 Peter 4:14 asked the question if the world sees God in us and through our trials. Remember – all the disciples died of persecution.

Cassie Bernall was killed in the Columbine massacre for her faith. Here is a poem she wrote before she died:

Now I have given up on everything else
I have found it to be the only way
To really know Christ and to experience
The mighty power that brought
Him back to life again, and to find
Out what it means to suffer and to
Die with him. So, whatever it takes
I will be the one who lives in the fresh
Newness of life of those who are
Alive from the dead
– Cassie Bernall

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I spent my whole night with God tonight in front of this candle. I’m at a place in my life where God and I just talk all the time. I had a very interesting week this week. I shared my story with someone I deeply care about Saturday night and it got me processing a lot about where I am at in my walk. God’s really pulling me out into the community to share the gospel and my testimony to others. The brokenness of this jacked up world is really weighing on my heart. I really care and love people  and I find myself hurting for them. It kills me to see people make the choice of turning from God when Satan throws his punches our way.

Church for me exists in the world. Sundays are great for fellowship and teaching, but I’m growing in my walk meeting with people out in the surrounding community. Tonight I spent hours in the smoky atmosphere of Coffee Rush with a brother that just went through divorce. It’s a shitty thing for anyone to have to ever go through and I feel for this guy cuz he has little kids. But what an encouraging night that came from hanging out with him. God used me to impact his life in our short time together and he in turn was a blessing to me. I knew of him when he was married and was always encouraged when I saw his family. But then last summer I saw him at a small group alone with a look in his face that was all too familiar. I knew right then and there his marriage was over and I felt for him. But hearing him speak of his desire to cling to Christ through this tough time made me knew that God was going to take care of him. Tonight we had the opportunity to meet for the first time.

What an amazing turnaround God has done in his life! God is really working in this guy. I’m not saying that life is easy for him – he’s lonely, he’s struggling with lust and finances. Yet he has peace because he knows God is going to pull him through this. That’s God!!!! He doesn’t let go. We can have peace and hope because he is our anchor when life sucks. He is ever faithful and true and we can cling to hope when disaster comes. I love this verse from Hebrews..

We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.  – Hebrews 6:19

I’ve gone through more pain and trials since coming to Christ than when I lived life without him. Coming to Christ doesn’t guarantee things will get easy. But when we surrender our lives to him, He gives us the Holy Spirit to guide us and we can have peace in that. He is the anchor to our souls and we can navigate through the crap when we cling to the cross. I have experienced the type of trials that can destroy a man. But at the same time I can honestly say that I am where I am today because of Jesus Christ. His grace and love for me are the only things that got me where I am today. I don’t fear man or this world because God continues to show me that he will bring me through whatever I go through and give me exactly what I need. What an amazing God we have!

Tonight I saw my new friend and the power of what God can do when we turn to Him. This guy turned to the cross of Christ – the place where God loves us and where Jesus shows us that he understands what we are going through. And now his testimony will be used to change the lives of others who are experiencing trouble. This guy prayed for me and told me how much meeting me impacted his life in a short few hours. I laugh because I feel the same way about him. He was a light to me tonight and a reminder of who God is when life beats us down. I love how the body of Christ is used to encourage each other.

Tonight I realized where God wants me after spending some time with Him. I know a big part of that is being out in the secular world and serving these men that are struggling and going through painful situations. I get pain and I don’t fear it. Jesus is my rock and I’m secure in that and pain has always brought me closer to him. People call me modern-day Job or whatever, but they also know that Christ is my foundation and the trials of life just make me cling to Christ. I want to share that and proclaim that to others. God may allow freedom in this world, but He doesn’t lose control. He knows what we go through and he offers himself as a source of hope to overcome it.

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I just got this new book Heroes and Monsters by Josh James Riebock. It was recommended to me by my former Pastor, Ron Merrell. I really enjoyed reading it – the author is very deep and writes about the struggle within our souls.

– Heroes and Monsters is an unforgettable memoir of passion and redemption, a ragged look into a world at once wildly twisted and profoundly beautiful, an exposé of both the hero and the monster within all of us.

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