Spending March w/ Jesus 3-26-09 "Jesus Prays; YOUR WILL BE DONE"

Jesus wins the battle of prayer.

Read Matthew 26

Then He came to the disciples and found them asleep, and said to Peter, "What? Could you not watch with Me one hour? Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." Again, a second time, He went away and prayed, saying, "O My Father, if this cup cannot pass away from Me unless I drink it, Your will be done." And He came and found them asleep again, for their eyes were heavy. So He left them, went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words. Then He came to His disciples and said to them, "Are you still sleeping and resting? Behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners. "Rise, let us be going. See, My betrayer is at hand."

Could you not watch with Me one hour? Jesus valued and desired the help of His friends in this battle. But even without their help, He endured in prayer until the battle was won.

Prayed the third time, saying the same words: This shows us that it is not unspiritual to make the same request to God several times. Some hyper-spiritual people believe that if we ask for something more than once, it shows we don’t have faith. But Jesus shows us that repeated prayer is completely consistent with steadfast faith.
Rise, let us be going. See, My betrayer is at hand: Jesus knew Judas and the those who would arrest Him were on the way. He could have run, and escaped the agony waiting at the cross. But Jesus rose to meet Judas. He is in complete control of all events.

My favorite part of this scripture text is when Jesus gives his request to the Father and then says; None the less, not my will but your will be done. Not only is he giving his will over to the Father but he is also doing exactly what he taught the disciples to do in Matthew 6. (Pray that "Your will be done.") To many people do not practice what they preach. This is an awesome testimony of a man who not just taught the will of God, but also did the will of God.

Spending March w/ Jesus 3-25-09 "Jesus is the Only Way."

Durex is the only way to be sure....Jesus is the only way to eternal life.

Read John 14-15

There is nothing that bothers me more than a coach, leader, or teacher who tells us that there is only one way to do something. For years I have been cold calling clients and trying to get into new door to find new opportunities. When I first started calling on clients, I was taught a very scripted approach and was told that it was the only way. Then over time, I learned how to put my own spin on it and give it that Chewning Flavor. Now, I can out do just about anyone when it comes to landing new appointments over the phone. So, Don't give me that one way crap.

That is unless we're talking about Jesus. I hate when Christians and Non-Christians give us that bogus answer about how Jesus is one of many ways to receive eternal like. Not true. I also do not understand how people with any bit of intelligence can say that Jesus never claimed to be the only way. How is this for offensive? "I AM THE WAY AND THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE, NOBODY GETS TO THE FATHER BUT THROUGH ME."

Not to sure what your thinking when you read that, but to me, it seems like Jesus is saying that he is the only way. With a statement like that, Jesus doesn't give us much room to wiggle. Either he is King of the universe or a crazy man. That's the only 2 options we have.

I love Christianity because it is the only religion in the world that is not works based. It never says that in order to receive eternal life or be considered a Christian, you have to do something. It only says if you believe in Jesus you will have eternal life. Much different. Rather than saying that in order to BE, you must DO; it instead says, this is what was DONE, therefore you ARE.
BIG DIFFERENCE. Our only job.......BELIEVE!!!!!!!!!!!!

Spending March w/ Jesus 3-24-2009 "Jesus is the most powerful person in the room; watch what he does."

Jesus; the most powerful person in the room.

Read: John 13:1-17 and Matthew 26:17-30

I am a man of influence, whether I want to be or not, I am. God has gifted me with the ability to influence people all around me. My co-workers, my family, my friends, and even some of my leaders have been influenced by me in one way or another.

My father would tell you that most religious leaders in the world today are more interested in their power than their responsibility or calling. To be exact, my dad thinks that most religious leaders couldn’t make it in the real world, were picked on in High School, and the easiest way for them to have influence was to become a priest or pastor of some sort. This is his was of explaining away things like sexual abuse in the church, embezzlement, adultery, and all the other issues that we see happen when the wrong person gains to much power or influence in a religious setting.

Look at this passage. John 13:3-5.

Jesus knows his time is up. The Devil has already convinced Judas to betray Jesus and it's no secret. Jesus, God in the flesh, just has a moment with the Father and now knows the fullness of his power. This is what the scripture says: "Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples' feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him."

This is amazing to me. Jesus just realizes all of the power that the Father has given him and what does he do? He doesn’t exercise any of it. Instead he takes on the role of a servant and cleans the most disgusting part of the body: The Feet!

How would I react in that situation? When I recognize that I am the most powerful person in the room, what will my reaction be? Will I exercise my authority or serve those who God has given me? What will I do as a daddy as I realize the power I have; will I lord it over them or lovingly serve them? How about my wife? How about my small group? How about my church one day?

Lord, Help me follow your example and lead as you did; with a servants attitude and heart.

Spending March w/ Jesus 3-23-09 "Authority"

The Authority of Jesus Questioned

Matthew 21:23Jesus entered the temple courts, and, while he was teaching, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him. "By what authority are you doing these things?" they asked. "And who gave you this authority?"
24Jesus replied, "I will also ask you one question. If you answer me, I will tell you by what authority I am doing these things. 25John's baptism—where did it come from? Was it from heaven, or from men?"
They discussed it among themselves and said, "If we say, 'From heaven,' he will ask, 'Then why didn't you believe him?' 26But if we say, 'From men'—we are afraid of the people, for they all hold that John was a prophet."
27So they answered Jesus, "We don't know." Then he said, "Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.

Why do we lack Jesus' Authority?

Spending March w/ Jesus 3-22-09 "Jesus gave me another little girl"

Jesus Gives Gifts
Read James 1:17

"Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows."

Two years ago today, God gave me a wonderful gift. Ella Grace. She is our second little girl but has many things that make her unique to our family.

When I think of all of the Good things that God has given us; apart from salvation nothing comes close to the gift of my family. I not only have been GIVEN this gift but also have been ENTRUSTED with this gift. God has so richly blessed me with the responsibility of being a daddy to Ella Grace. It is a responsibility that I am excited to take on as well as scared to death to take on.

You are my E-La, my youngest daughter, and are as sweet as a button. I love when you look at me with you huge adorable eyes. You just make me melt. I want you to know that I love you dearly. I promise to always be there for you as long as God allows me. I pray for you daily. I pray not just for your safety but most important for your salvation. When you were born, our pastor, Frank, came to the hospital and prayed over you. Being led by the Spirit of God, this is what he prayed. "That you would be a mouthpiece to your generation, a strong leader who will lead her generation." It brought tears to my eyes. I knew that it was God speaking.

Ella, live into your destiny. God has a bright and beautiful future for you. Please allow me to be the man in your life who approves of you, encourages you, and loves on you; until the day your mommy and I hand you over to your husband. Keep your purity and honor God with your body. I am pleading with you about that one.

Finally, forgive me. I will mess up a lot while raising you. I will abuse the responsibility that God has given me and sin against you. I am human and sinful just like the rest of the world. However, always know that I love you dearly and always will. You are my pumpkin.

Love, Daddy

Spending March w/ Jesus 3-21-09 "Jesus on Prayer"

Jesus on Prayer

Read Luke 11:1-13
There is just something about my first daughter. That munchkin has me wrapped around her finger. I try so hard to tell her "NO" but it is just so difficult for me. That girl will just hassle me until I say yes. The other day she was begging to sleep in her brothers room. My initial reaction was absolutely not. I had no reason to say no to her, however that was my answer.

She went on and on and on and on, asking and pleading with me to sleep in her brothers room. Sure enough I said yes.

Jesus' point in this passage is to be like the nagging person at the door. Knock until you get what you are asking for. As long as you are aligning your will with the Fathers ask and it will be given.
I must be honest. I pray often but not as persistent as I should. I now a lot of lost people who I believe that if there were o die today would go to hell. That's scary stuff. I have a lot of needs in my own life that I do not pray about. Instead I work hard for them. I need God to show up in my church plant and yet I do not pray as persistent as I should be for it.
Lord, Burn in me a passion for persistence in prayer.

Spending March w/ Jesus 3-20-09 "Jesus explains Compassion"

Jesus explains Passion and Compassion

Read Luke 10:25-37

Passion is defined as a strong feeling or emotion. People consider me a passionate guy. When I find something that I enjoy, my DNA urges a passion in me for whatever that thing is. Whether it is playing basketball and wanting to win, talking to someone about Jesus, or making love to my bride, I typically like do it with a lot of passion. Very rarely will you find me acting all relaxed when I am doing things that I enjoy.

In this passage a lawyer who is clearly passionate about himself and how well he follows Gods law, sets out to test Jesus. In doing so, like usual, Jesus slams him in the most awesome way. In a nit shell Jesus explains to this lawyer that although he has passion for the law, he lacks what is most important and what the law was meant to bear - Compassion.

Compassion is different that Passion and often people get these two mixed up. Unlike passion, compassion is a profound human emotion prompted by the pain of others.

In our faith it is hard to believe that on could be passionate about Jesus but lack passion for others, however, this is one thing that I struggle with the most. although passionate about Christ, I tend to lack compassion. If I was honest with myself, I relate more to the lawyer who is trying to test Jesus than I do the Good Samaritan. I tend to want to just preach to people rather than engage and love on people.

This is something that I need to change. I need to begin to pray about this very hard. God need to stir my heart towards those who need him. If I am going to claim to be a full follower of Christ, I need to become just as compassionate about others needs as I am passionate about knowing Christ. Passion for Christ without compassion for others in the end is really fake passion and pride.

Lord, give me your heart. help me to feel for others the way that you feel for them. Break my heart as yours breaks for others.

1 John 3:16-20

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.

Spending March w/ Jesus "Jesus revealed to the un-wise"

Jesus sends his missionaries out.

Read Luke 10: 1-24

I'm just not that smart of a person. From an intellectual perspective I was never the brightest crayon in box. I was more like the dull white crayon that gets broken before anyone ever uses it. In High School I even found ways to fail Gym Class. That's the most disappointing I ever leaked on my blog. How in the world can someone fail gym class, the criteria is like getting dressed for class. Non-the-less, Chewning found a way.

Throughout 6 years of taking Spanish class in my scholastic career, I only passed once. Actually, That's not really fair to say, It was a class during basketball season so I didn't have to attend and got to take the tests as a group with the team. We had a Spanish kid on our team; I got an A.

Anyway here in Luke 10, Jesus just sent out his crew to do ministry around the region. He assures them that the Kingdom of God is near them at all times. he instructs them to go into city's where they are accepted by the grace of God and tell them about the Kingdom. If they are not accepted, tell them that they will be punished, dust your feet off, and move on.

Upon them returning from the mission field, this was their testimony. "Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name."

Here is Jesus' reaction. Luke 10:21 At that very time He rejoiced greatly in the Holy Spirit, and said, "I praise You, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to infants. Yes, Father, for this way was well-pleasing in Your sight.

Three days ago we were in our yard talking to our neighbors about Christ. I was out there with the kids playing bball and just hanging out. After we were done chatting, we all went inside. I felt the Lord tell me to pray for my neighbors because they have a distorted view of Christ and as their neighbors we need to be the ones praying for them. I grabbed the 3 kiddos and we stood in our dining room and all took a turn praying for them (Except Ella). Then yesterday when I came home Daniel asked me if he could go outside. I wasn't out of my work cloths yet so I said, No. he kept complaining that he wanted to go outside. Finally I asked him why. he simply said, "Because I want to tell our neighbors the truth about Jesus."

I thought. You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to infants.

Spending March w/ Jesus 3-18-09 "Who do I really Love?"

Jesus and the Rick Young Ruler

Read Mark 10:17-31

I was thinking today about what I would give up for my family. The answer is honestly everything. I would give up anything for my family, my money, my safety, even my life. I'm not a guy with a hot temper or anger issues, however, don't mess with my family. When Abby came home the other day from a friends house with a mark on her face from running into a couch, I had to cool down for a minute because I found myself upset. When Daniel came home after getting into a little scuffle at Chick-fil-a in the play area, I was thinking of who's dad I would have to kill because their son was messing with my son. And my bride. Don't even play. I would have a joyful time beating anyone who messes with my bride. that my boo and nobody messes with my boo.

I was wondering what it was that compels me to act in such ways that were totally out of character for me. I guess its just Love. Love compels me to act differently.

In the story of the Rich Young Ruler, his Love for money compelled him to run after THINGS rather than the Lord. It was his idol, his treasure, his Lord. That is what brought him satisfaction, comfort, and protection.

Maybe I am recognizing that my family is my Lord. Would I be willing to give them up if the Lord asked me to? I don't think so. As a daddy and husband, I struggle with this. I am infatuated with my family and have to be very careful not to idolize them over my walk with Jesus.

Spending March w/ Jesus 3-17-09 "Jesus settles accounts"

Being married young and having a bunch of Christian friends who wanted to wait until their wedding night, I have gotten this question a lot. "So, what's it like?" The big question, that everyone wants to know in our sex saturated culture is "What's it like? I remember a couple of years ago a buddy of mine was going to get married and he hadn't even kidded his girl in months. He was about to stand before God and others and enter into a covenant with his wife like non-other. He would then go on his honeymoon with her and experience all the enjoyments that God desires that we enjoy with our spouses. However, right before he left he pulled me to the side and asked me two questions.

1. What sex like? Do you have any pointers?
2. Whats marriage like?

I remember telling him.

1. Sex will be overrated, and over before you notice you started.
2. Marriage will be beautiful which will make the sex better.

Now...all my married people say AMEN.

In This passage of scripture Jesus has people asking him the same question. "What is it like?" Except in his day they weren't asking about sex, but instead the Kingdom of Heaven. I dream of the day where our culture begins to wonder about that very question? "What is the kingdom of heaven like?"

Here is Jesus' answer: Matthew 18:23 "Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants."

Today I was in my front yard talking to my neighbor who had a very frustrating background pertaining to Christianity. Ironically he asked me some questions about my faith, most of which were genuine. After I answered some of his questions, I asked him what he believed a Christian was? his answer went something like this. "Someone who is a good person, you've got to try real hard to be moral and do the right things." Never was there the name Jesus brought up, sin, or salvation. Just rules!

Jesus said it perfect. "The Kingdom is our King wanting to settle accounts with his people." We rebel against God everyday and shake our fists in his face. Instead of making us a slave to him and working us to death, he stepped down onto earth in order to settle accounts with us. Its called Atonement. Its a beautiful thing.

Spending March w/ Jesus 3-16-09 "Jesus tells of sin."

Jesus tells of the seriousness of sin.

Read Matthew 17:24-18:20

Years ago I was in Uganda, Africa at their largest church called KPC. It was a pretty neat church, ran about 6 services throughout the day. The preacher was a Canadian white guy which I thought was pretty interesting. It was my first experience at a pentecostal church where they get all loud and jumpy. I came to realize that it was more their African culture than their denomination affiliation. Africans just do everything a little louder with a little more freedom, its awesome to witness.

Anyway, while there the pastor dropped this line. "If you can't do it for the Glory of God, than don't do it." Wow, I never heard that before.

Is life that serious? Does everything that I do need to be done for the Glory of God? 1 Cor 10:31 says that whatever we do, do it all for the glory of Christ. Genesis talks about how we were created to bring God glory. So when we are bringing our creator glory, we are living into our destiny.

In today's reading there were two parables that talked about being sons of the King and a child of God. In the natural sense, it is a beautiful thing to bring your daddy glory. I can remember going to visit my dad in Charlotte and people saying to my dad "You got a great son" It made me beam. I remember in sports, hitting the game winner or running back that kickoff for a touchdown, and my did screaming out, "That's my boy." It is an awesome thing to bring glory to your dad. Just a few months ago, I was in a meeting with my boss and my dad called my cell phone. I wasn't going to get it but my boss told me to pick it up and tell him that "He thought that my dad he must have done a great job raising me because I was a good worker." Those moments are one that I'll never forget.

Today Jesus dropped this line in Matthew 18 "If your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life maimed or crippled than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell."

This is some pretty serious stuff. The severe language that Jesus uses literally scares me. In my life, I have not seen sin as dangerous and serious as Jesus puts it in this verse. When I think of it, I guess I have been kind of relaxed about overcoming my sin. Yes, there is a lot that I have overcome; or maybe I should say, there is a lot that I am currently overcoming. But is it really that serious?

Yes it is that serious. Sin separates relationships, both with God and others. So yes, it is that serious. I can easily become a slave to sin and fall into a lifestyle of sin if I don't keep it real .This life is a battle. We need to rest in the love of God and through that rest, fight off sin. Jesus models some extreme measures of fighting against sin. He doesn't leave an opportunity for us to lose, instead he calls us to go to extreme measures in order to pursue holiness.

1. What extreme measures have I taken lately to avoid sin?
2. What have I done lately that may or may not be considered sin (living on the edge)?
3. What have I done intentionally to avoid sin?
4. What sin is constantly overcoming me?
5. What areas of my life scare me when I think of its sinful potential?
6. What sins did I consider doing, or did do, today?
7. Have I confessed my sin and repented of my sin today?

Those are some big questions that I need to keep in front of me? I know that I am capable of anything, both Good and Evil. God help me.

Spending March w/ Jesus 3-15-09 "Jesus the Heart Changer."

Jesus the Intellect and Heart Changer.

Read John 6

Over the past 4 years I have learned so much about the bible. Moving to Greensboro became a huge opportunity for me to get connected with some other people who loved scripture and believed in its authority. Beth and I wound up moving to a neighborhood in NC in which my pastor, associate pastor, small group leader, and volunteer/guest services person all live. Just from my neighborhood, I had access to some men of God who loved their bibles. Not soon after, I discovered Contemporary Christian Music, and that totally revolutionized my life. Singing the Word of God was brand new to me; I went from loving some Jay-Z to worshipping with Jeremy Camp in my car. A couple of years ago I then got connected to guys like Mark Driscoll, John Piper, David Wilkerson, Matt Chandler, Andy Stanley, Greg Laurie, Billy Graham, John MacArthur, DA Carson, etc. These guys are world wide bible teachers and have some of the greatest ability to both preach and teach the bible with its practicality and theology.

That being said, I have learned so much the past 4 years. My brain is in bible overload which can be a very positive thing. However, today my pastor dropped this line and practically kicked me in the throat. "Reading Scripture isn't an intellectual exercises, it is a transformation opportunity." At that moment, God punched me in teeth. Ouch.

The bible is full of truth. It is practical, applicable, helpful, and knowledgeable. However, it is not meant to give you more information. It is made to pierce your heart like a double edged sword and change you. If my heart isn't daily being challenged and changed, than I am missing everything that the Lord wants to do in me.

Look at all the scriptures in which Jesus is dealing with the Pharisees. The Pharisees are supposed to be God's people. They are the bible guys, the ones who memorized the bible, the Holy ones, the ones with access to the Father. Yet, Jesus constantly was telling them that they don't know God. In John Chapter 6 Jesus tells them over and over again, that they don't know the Father. How can that be? They knew more of God's scripture than anyone else in their time, but yet they don't know God? They had all of the knowledge and information of their day and yet their hearts were never changed. In fact, the opposite was true, their hearts were hard, so hard that they would be willing to kill Jesus to hide their pride. Sick isn't it.

I need a heart transformation. I do not need more information if it will not change my heart. I have found that the more information that you retain, without it effecting your heart, the more critical you become of other people and their views. God, change my heart to reflect yours.

Spending March w/ Jesus 3-14-09 "Jesus Reveals Himself"

Jesus first confessed and then revealed.

Read Luke 9:18-34

I wrote yesterday about my frustrations with the inability to see the supernatural worked out on a regular basis in my own life. I talked to 2 people who I really respect about their opinions. Both said similar things.

Jesus told the Pharisees that they were a faithless and adulterous people who wanted to see signs and wonders. However Jesus said the only sign you will see is the death and resurrection. He said this because they were a people full of the knowledge of God, but had little faith in the power of God. Today we hear of so many miracles of God in areas of the world where God is not known because they do not have the knowledge of God like we do in America. Therefore, the Holy Spirit works in more powerful and miraculous ways to draw people to the knowledge and power of Christ. Not a bad argument.

Today you read about Peter's confession of Christ and then Christ's transfiguration. One thing that I noticed was the order of how this all played out. First, Jesus asked the disciples who they thought he was? That is a great question that everyone in the world has to wrestle with. Jesus has left such a mark on the earth that today about 99% of all of humanity is forced to make some sort of judgment about who we believe he is. I love CS Lewis's famous quote. "A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic - on the level with a man who says he is a poached egg - or he would be the devil of hell. You must take your choice. Either this was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us."

After Jesus asks the question, Peter quickly confesses that Jesus is the Christ or the Messiah depending on which translation your reading. At that point in Jesus' ministry, Jesus had not yet told in clear detail that he was the Christ or God in the flesh. he had performed many signs and wonders but never expressed his true identity. Yet, something in Peter's heart told him that "This was the Christ."

It was 8 days after Peter's confession that Jesus allowed Peter and 2 others to see his true glory. Scripture says it like this; "About eight days after Jesus said this, he took Peter, John and James with him and went up onto a mountain to pray. As he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning."

Notice that it wasn't until after Peter, James, and John confessed that he was the Christ, that Jesus fully revealed himself to them. For Peter, James, and John; the heart change came before the full revelation. There was faith before a knowledge of his glory. Same is true for us today. If we're honest we would agree that when we have seen Christ in his glory (or for who he is), it has been after our conversion. Like the great hymn tells us, "I once was blind, but now I see." I must first believe so that I can see.

Jesus is the Christ. He has revealed it to us through his death and resurrection. He is the chosen Son of God. The one who has come to live perfect among us, to be our example. He is the spotless lamb of God and yet the Lion of Judah. All of the wrath of God was borne in his sinless body as he hung on the tree. He is our substitution, our intercessor who gives access to the Father. He is the perfect balance of grace and truth. If we believe in him as the Christ he will reveal himself to us in ways that we would never imagine possible.

Spending March w/ Jesus 3-13-09 "Jesus Makes Me Frustrated."

Imagine feeding all these people on just a couple loaves of bread and 2 fish. Then having leftovers.

Jesus Feeds 5000 people

Read John 6:1-14

I almost am at the half way point of the month in which I have set out to study Jesus through the gospels. One may think that I would be super excited about what I am reading each day and that I would be on a spiritual high. That's very far from the case. I am actually more frustrated today, than I have been in a while.

I'll preface this blog by telling you this. I believe in miracles. I have seen some miraculous things in my life and believe that God can do anything without exception. However, here's my issue. I have never seen miracles like I have been reading about these past 2 weeks. The miracles that I have seen, primarily have to do with the unseen miracles that are not a part of the physical realm. For example, I can see the miracle of regeneration in my own life, no doubt that God gave me a new heart. I can intellectually understand the miracle of justification in which scripture teaches about. I have heard the voice of God verbally in which God spoke to both Beth and I on the same day and said the same thing. I have seen the divine appointment in which I met the perfect person at the perfect time for a God sized reason. The list can go on.

However, I have never seen the undeniable, no questions asked, must have been God, miracle; in the physical sense. Most of the things I have seen can be written off as pure luck, maturity, or coinciedience. For example; I have already blogged about how Jesus turned water into wine, raise people from the dead, pulled a demon out of someone, walked on water, told a storm to "get the hell outta here", escaped a raging mob, healed the blind-deaf-bleeding-dead-sick-poor-etc. All of those things are actual, physical, undeniable, miracles unlike anything I have ever seen.

Every time I come to scripture I see more and more of the miraculous. Jesus was a man who did miracles; and performed signs and wonders. Today a typical Christian barely ever claims any real power which totally contradicts Jesus' words when he said in Acts and Matthew that "we would receive power." Instead, I find myself taking all of the miracles and the supernatural that Jesus accomplished thru teh power of the Holy Spirit and and trying to put some sort of stupid, dumbed down, spin on it so that I don't have to explain why I do not see those things in my life.

Then came today. Jesus took a couple of fish and some bread and fed up to 20,000 people with leftovers. I was about to write some stupid parable about how Jesus wanted to show us that he was the bread of life and is able to fill all of our needs. Na, that's just the wrong answer. Jesus wanted to feed his people and he had the power to do it. They were hungery and he decided to feed them. END OF STORY.

I think that as a Christian I have the right to be frustrated that I do not see the same, or ever similar power in my own life. Does the Holy Spirit not work anymore? Do I not have enough faith? Do I not believe or trust? Does God not want to do those things anymore? I think that American Christianity has taught me to try to and to God for an answer on how to fix something, rather than going to God with the trust and faith that he will supernaturally and miraculously do it himself. The Holy Spirit does work; I do have faith, I believe and trust; and I believe that it is Gods heart to do the supernatural still. I guess I'm just missing something.

God, help me see the supernatural. I want to see the crazy things that I am reading about. Grow my faith so that I will trust you and your ability to do anything. I want to see it.

Spending March w/ Jesus 3-12-09 "Jesus Plants Seeds."

Jesus didn't just save people; he also planted seeds for others to be saved later.

Read Mark 5

Jesus saved me while I was in college. I can remember in High School, having no clue about any type of religion or spiritual morality. I really never knew a spiritual person all throughout my years living in NJ. The closest I came to religion was celebrating Christmas and Hanukkah in December, but I only thought that those times were about getting gifts. I never knew the historical meaning behind the holidays.

I, like others, wanted nothing to do with Christianity the first time I heard it. I remember my roommate (Chris Kaufman) and other friends in college, sharing the gospel of Christ with me often and telling me about the love and grace of Christ. I always thought they were crazy. Actually one day after a conversation with my roommate, Chris, I remember calling my dad and telling them that I was at a colt college and he needed to pick me up. My father, being raised in a non-practicing Catholic, quickly agreed that the people at ENC were weird, but encouraged me to stay calm and just ride out the experience.

After a few months at school, I had multiple of people telling me of their story and what Christ had done for them. Over time, my heart was softened to Christ until the day God use Ricky to lead me into the Kingdom. I am so thankful for the guys and girls who went out on a limb and allow God to use them to plant a small seed in my life. Some of those people are Chris Kaufman, Carlos T, Mark, AZ, Dre Benson, Andrea Allen, Tiffany, Joey T, Adrian M, and my beautiful bride Beth Shomo.

When people think of Jesus, they rarely think of him as the one who was planting the seed in which someone else would get to water. Look in Mark 5:18-20; Jesus just healed this man of demons and did a miraculous work in his life. This is what the text says: As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed begged to go with him. Jesus did not let him, but said, "Go home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you." So the man went away and began to tell in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him. And all the people were amazed.

In this text, you can see that Jesus was sending a man to go and plant seeds to the Gentiles. In other texts we know that Jesus was sent to the Jews and not the Gentiles. However Paul was the one to be a missionary and mouthpiece to the Gentiles. It was Paul who was sent to water the seeds that had already been planted in the lives of the Gentiles.

Jesus (who was a Jew) was sending a man to go and tell of his greatness in a culture that was typically despised by Jews. At this time Jesus was in ‘Decapolis’. ‘Decapolis’ is a Greek word that means ‘Ten Towns’. They were cities east and south of the Jordan River, where Greek people had lived for about three hundred years. So Jesus was in Gentile territory to which he would not return. Jesus sent the man to tell other Gentiles the good news. This man would be a witness among Gentiles to the saving power of Jesus.

Personally I do not have the gift of evangelism. I have led people to Christ, but it is not something I do everyday. However, I do have a responsibility everyday. Everyday, I am called to plant seeds. I am called to be like the man that Jesus sent out to plant seeds and like the scriptures say, "just tell about him." I then have to trust that God will continue to send more people to water my seeds.

Today I planted 2 seeds. I was with my accountant and told her about what Christ did in my life, and I was with a partner at work and told her and her son a little about Christ. We all need to do what Christ tells us to to in Mark 5:19; "Go...and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you."

Our job is not to save people, that is God's job. I love how JI Packer puts it "God Saves Sinners." It is my job to plant seeds and just tell of him, it is His job to save people.

Here are some places that I can plant seeds:

1. At the check out counter.
2. At the restaurant.
3. At the local GYM.
4. At Work.
5. In the break room.
6. When meeting with clients, vendors, and other work related people.
7. When I am with my neighbors.
8. When I'm getting coffee at Dunkin D's or Starbucks.
9. Even within my business e-mail signature. (See below)

Matt Chewning
Account Manager
Storr Office Environments
336-217-4525 - Direct line
336-362-5662 - Cell
336-217-4501 - Fax
I am too anointed to be disappointed, too blessed to be depressed, too chosen to be frozen, too elected to be rejected, have more to shout about than to pout about and have more to sing about than complain about. "To God be the Glory Forever, Amen" Romans 11:36

We can plant seeds through full blown conversations, or we can plant seeds through a one sentence comment. Either way, "PLANT SEEDS."

If nervous about planting seeds; keep this scripture in mind.
Romans 1:16
I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes

Spending March w/ Jesus 3-11-09 "Jesus is able."

Jesus Overrides Nature and Physics

Read Mark 6:45-56 and Luke 8:22-25

For the past 6 years I have been in the Office Interiors industry and business has been pretty good. I typically deal with a high level sale, working with major players in Corporate America. My job is to go into companies and help them design space so that business flows in a way that is more productive and efficient. In other words, I am directly tied to a companies business objective and am considered to be a key part to helping the business succeed.

In my job there is a lot that I can control. Relationships, Pricing, Products, Space Planning, Process, Time Frame, etc. With that being said, there are a lot of things that I don't control. I cannot control the clients budget, attitude, purchasing process, terms, and final decision.

Over time technology has allowed us to overcome many things. We have walked on the moon (Why? I'm not sure.) , discovered other galaxies (woop-de-doo) , created electricity (Thank God) , built cell phones (I am still confused on how a person can hear me without a wire) , and the i-pod is just amazing to me (What would I do without 7000 songs, 250 movies, 500 podcasts, and pictures; while driving 15 minutes to work everyday?). All that being said, and we still have not found a way to walk on water and dictate weather. That is just crazy to me.

In these passages, Jesus shows us his absolute control over ALL things. Here we are 2000 years after Jesus walks on water and tells a storm to "Go Away" and we have yet to be able to duplicate his effort. Personally I do not think this was by accident. He choose this because we will never be able to do these things. It's a matter of physics and mother nature. Healing people, yeah, we all know people who have seen or experienced the miracle of supernatural healing. But find me a guy who walks on water and shuts up a storm; and I'll probably have a freak out moment.

This is the point. Jesus wants us to know beyond a shadow of doubt that "He is able." Regardless of your situation, "He is able." Regardless of how crazy it seems, "He is able." Regardless of how it looks today, "He is able."

There are a few things that I am praying about right now. In which I need to believe that "He is able." I'll share it with my blogging world.

1. Church Plant. Currently we need to raise a butt load of money to make the move and start the process. We also need some strong and mature people to join us on the journey. I need for God to do this. I can''t do it without him. However, I know that "He is able."

2. My Kids. I know that apart from God drawing my kids to him, they will only rebel. I pray that the Lord will draw my kids close, give them a heart for Jesus, and that they would receive salvation. "He is able."

3. My Marriage. Putting 2 sinful and selfish people under one roof can be very difficult at times. Then add 3 (almost 4) sinful kids to the mix and you got a scary situation. I am praying for God's continued grace over my home. "He is able."

4. Work. I am a full commission sales person and the economy is effecting us. I literally have not made much money in about 4 months. However, activity has picked up and I know that "He is able."

5. My sister-in-law. Her marriage is almost over. She is one of the strongest women of God I know. I have seen her absolutely flourish over the years. She married a good man but he neglected to pursue her and love her they way that he should. I pray that God would have his will in their lives.

6. Family Health. I have a fear that God will take away someone who I love prematurely. I have always carried this, so I am praying that the Lord will keep us safe. "He is able."

Mark 6:49 "But when they saw him walking on the lake, they thought he was a ghost. They cried out in fear."

Luke 8:25 "In fear and amazement they asked one another, "Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him."

Fear is a natural reaction when we realize that we are standing before one who is able to do anything. However, Jesus reaction to those who had fear, was always love. I have to keep that in mind when I think of the infinite power of Christ. I am his child and he loves me more than I love myself.

Spending march w/ Jesus 3-10-2009 "Jesus gives Eyes and Ears"

Jesus speaks in Parables

Read Matthew 13

Have you ever been having either a conversation or even worse, an argument and the other person doesn't have a clue what you are saying? This has happened to me many times. Just this past week Beth and I were in a car driving to dinner and we were just upset. The night hadn't gone as planned and we had nothing else to do but be upset with each other. It seemed like everything that Beth was saying to me was just pissing em off. The same was true for her, everything I was saying was driving her nuts.

When I look back, the truth is that we just didn't have ears to hear each other. We were so preoccupied with "OURSELVES" that we were not really open to hearing each other. This is why Jesus spoke in parables so often. Because of the pride of the crowd, they were unable to receive any direct criticism. Jesus was the master communicator. He would literally walk people into an understanding without them having to accept it or apply it to themselves while he was speaking. However, when he was done, "Those who had ears, or those who's humility allowed them to understand" those people heard and received his words.

Jesus is not withholding the truth from some; He isn’t saying that only the smart people will understand and be saved. Some people understand spiritual truth and some do not; some have eyes to see and ears to hear, some do not. In the above verses, and through the use of parables, Jesus is making comment on the spiritual condition of people. Through their understanding, or lack thereof, of the teachings of Jesus, we can easily see who has eyes to see and ears to hear the things of God.

Those who humble themselves and take their eyes and ears off of number one, will hear.

Holy Spirit, Open my eyes to see and my ears to hear. I need to receive from you.

Spending March w/ Jesus 3-9-2009 "Jesus the Missionary"

Jesus the Missionary

Read Matthew 12

Typically when you think of missionary you think of sending someone oversees to do work in an area in the world that is unreached. That mindset neglects to realize that we are missionaries in our current location. It is not a mistake that in 2009 I live in Greensboro NC. Acts 17 tells how Jesus has ordained our time (When we live) and place (Where we live) in order that people may know him.

That is not just true for us, that was also true for Jesus. Jesus came at the perfect time in all of history. It was his time and place and he lived among the earth as missionary to the Jews. You can see in Matthew 12 how Jesus is constantly teaching the religious crowd and the pagans. He is healing the sick, teaching on the Sabbath, teaching on the resurrection, teaching on Satan and demons. Jesus was being a missionary to his culture.

We are called to do the same. It is our responsibility to teach truth about all of these issues as well. It is our responsibility to heal the broken and teach people about the gospel of Christ.

This was in the Burlington, NC paper this morning:

“A wide – ranging study on American religious life found that the Roman Catholic population has been shifting out of the Northeast to the Southwest, the percentage of Christians in the nation has declined and more people say they have no religion at all”.

“ Northern New England surpassed the Pacific Northwest as the least religious region”.
With Northern New England being the least reached region in America today, I wonder who will God send to join us on the journey of reaching them.

Spending March w/ Jesus 3-8-09 "Jesus Speaks To Us"

Jesus Performs Many Miracles

Read Matthew 8:1-13 and Luke 7

Its my anniversary. Can you believe that it has been 6 years since Beth and I tied the knot. Wow.

Anyway, something cool happened with Daniel tonight. Jen put him to bed at about 8:30pm so that Beth and I could go and grab a cheap anniversary dinner to celebrate. When we got home, Daniel yelled to me to come up to his room. When I walked in he told me that he was scared because he had a bad dream. Funny how he was able to have a bad dream but never fall asleep yet. Anyway, I asked him what it was about. He said that he was hanging from a tree and nobody would help him for 7 weeks. RANDOM.

My response was typical. "Daniel, you know that wouldn't happen because you know who'd help you?" (I was thinking that "I" would help him) Of course he humbled me and said, " Yes, Jesus would help me." Then he got all skeptical, which I love by the way.

He said this, "How is Jesus going to ever help me when he doesn't know that I need his help? I can't see him, so how can I tell him that I need him to help me?" I answered, "You pray and believe that Jesus will hear you and and answer." "But Dad, I can't hear Jesus because I can't see him."

Then I went out on a limb. I said, "Yes you can hear him, lets pray right now and asks Jesus to say something to us." So I prayed and just asked Jesus to speak." We were quite for about a minute and then I asked Daniel what Jesus said because I thought that I heard something. Daniel answered with a huge smile, "He just told me that he would always help me and be there for me and I don't need to be afraid."

Funny enough; that just about the same thing that I heard.

My son is already learning to hear the voice of God.

Spending March w/ Jesus 3-7-09 "Jesus tells us to Self Evaluate"

Sermon on the Mount

Read Luke 6

6:42 How can you say to your brother, 'Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,' when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother’s eye.

This is such an important principle to implement into your own life. Its is the principle of "self evaluation." Self Evaluation is what will build strong marriages, strong relationships between kids and their parents, and pretty much all other relationships.

When Beth and I get into arguments, it is important for us to first look at ourselves before taking a stand or pleading a case to the other person. I literally do all that I can to walk away from situations and ask myself the following questions:

1. What did I do against God and the person?
2. How did I sin?
3. What should I have done different?
4. How was I insensitive?
5. How can I react Godly?

The only way to humbly look at these questions and answer them with accurate honesty is to look at Christ and the Gospel. When we have Gospel lenses, we are able to humble ourselves to situations. Through the gospel, we can see our wretched sin and the measure of Gods grace. It allows us to lose all pride and be able to acknowledge who we truly are (sinners by nature) and submit to the authority of Christ.

Spending march w/ Jesus 3-6-09 "Jesus the Rebel is Chillin w/ Sinners"

Jesus Chills with Tax Collectors and Sinners.

Read: Matthew 9:9-13

I consider myself a pretty culturally relevant cat; especially for a Christian. I still dress like a kid, talk with a lil slang, and enjoy a good movie or rap song from time to time. I have friends that don't know the Lord. I intentionally play ball without my church folk, try to surround myself with lost people, and am not afraid of going to a local bar to have wings and a drink. Lost people don't scare me, intimidate me, or typically make me feel uncomfortable. Foul language doesn't make me cringe, and I don't get bent out of shape watching MMA fights. I enjoy stand up comedy, but typically don't like "Christian" stand up comedy. To take it even further; my wife went to a gay bar last year and it didn't bother me at all. I like to drive fast and am always getting in trouble for not wearing my seat belt. I like when Beth dresses to show her curves and I love having her lookin sexy when we go on dates together. I'll never ask her to be overly modest like a Mormon, I like when she dresses with a little flavor. I get mad at people and at times use "UN-Christian" language when I am angry. Kinky is not bad, its good within marriage.

I will admit that some of the things that I wrote above will change in years to come. I am young, immature, and sometimes think that I am invincible. Actually my nickname in high school was "Untouchable" Sometimes that mindset comes back and I think that I can conquer the world. At times I live outside of reality and believe that I can be in any situation and come out of the battle without a scratch.

That being said, I am no Jesus. I am not sure if I have ever been as risky as Jesus was or if I ever will be. Then again, I am not sure that I should be; lets face it...I'm not God! People are always using this scripture to make excuses for their behavior or their bad company. Lets just be honest; a lone ranger is a dead ranger. As a nation, our policy is "never leave a man behind." As Christian brothers and sisters, that should be our motto as well.

I love how this text shows that even Jesus was not out trying to save the world by himself. Verse 10 specifically states that Jesus was out with his disciples. He was not alone. Very rarely do you find Jesus alone. The only time I can think of is with the woman at the well. Every other time, he had his boys with him. Jesus demonstrates the importance of surrounding yourself with your peeps who are on the same mission as you. Don't do it alone, you'll lose.

Listen...I am all about trying to save the world. I am planning on moving to an area of the country that is totally against FUNdamental Orthodox Christianity. But I'm not stupid, I'm gonna build an army before I jump into the war.

I am learning the importance of establishing boundaries in my own walk. One boundary to set is this. "Never enter into a war without an Army."

Spending March w/ Jesus 3-5-09 "Jesus got booted"

Jesus Rejected at Nazareth

Read Luke 4:16-30

Have you ever seen something that was going really well, take a sudden turn for the worst? One time I was in a basketball game in college. We were playing Newbury college and I had just gone on one of the hottest streaks of my entire basketball career. I scored 36 points in a matter of 14 minutes. I'll never forget the game. We were down by ten at the half and I remember telling James Capozzi,who was in the crowd while we were warming up for the start of the 2nd half, that I was going to go for 20 in the half and win the game. I only had about 5 points in the first half and was quite for the first 3 minutes of the 2nd half. Then I hit a shot with the shot clock expiring and it sparked my fire. From that point on, the hoop was as big as the Atlantic. I hit 3 after 3 after 3 from everywhere on the court. And ones, up and unders, free throws, mid-range jumpers; I just couldn't miss. I remember looking up into the stands at Beth (who was holding Daniel) and then James, and making an expression like "I have no idea why everything is going in?" Next thing I know we are up 10 points with 1 minute left and I just went went on a scoring spree that I have never witnessed before. It was crazy and I remember it like it was yesterday.

Then it took a turn....FOR THE WORST. Our team literally just shut down with one minute left. Somehow, with one minute left and down 10 points, Newbury found themselves now up 1 point with 6 seconds left. I can't even remember how that happened. They were about to pull off the biggest comeback that I would ever be a part of.

End of Story...I hit the game winner with no time left on the clock and we won by 1. Best game of my career.

Luke 4:14-30 is a story of how quickly something could go wrong after being so right. Jesus is in his home town probably with his family and crew. He's at the church that he grew up in, and people were probably excited to see him. At that time there were a lot of talk about Jesus because of miracles that he was performing in Capernaum. (Side note, Luke was not written in chronological order like other gospels.) While at church, Jesus picks up a scroll and reads a prophecy about himself out of Isaiah. he basically told the group that the Messiah is here and standing before you. The crowd was overwhelmingly joyful. Scripture says that the crowd "spoke well of him and was amazed at the gracious words that came from his lips."

Then it turned! To preface his next statement, he first warned the crowd by saying, "Easy, don't talk so highly of me yet, because I am about to tell you something that will make you want to literally throw me off of a cliff." Then he shares an analogy and communicated to the Jews that the Kingdom of God is not just for the good, moral, law following Jews. Instead he tells them that the Kingdom of God is for the repentant sinners of the world." This is how the Jews responded. One minute they were filled with Joy that the messiah was before them and the next minute, scripture tells us "All the people in the synagogue were furious when they heard this. They got up, drove him out of the town, and took him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw him down the cliff."

Why did they turn so fast? Why were they ready to throw Jesus off of a cliff? The answer; "SPIRITUAL PRIDE!!"

The Jews thought that salvation was for only those who were good morel Jews. How dare salvation be offered to those who don't try hard. I try hard, I sacrifice, I am a good person. I deserve the Kingdom of God.

Don't we all act like this sometimes. Don't we sometimes look at people who are lost and don't know Christ with some sort of internal spiritual pride. Almost as if we are better than they are? None of us would intentionally do this or even admit it for that matter, but if your honest; it's there. It's in us to act and think like this. Truth be told, if we were one of the religious people in the room, we would have been trying to throw Jesus over a cliff as well. How dare he stomp on my self righteous party.

This is what I pull away from this scripture.

If I am not willing to put myself in situations where people are turning against me and kicking me out, than I have to ask if I am compromising TRUTH? Jesus was full of truth, he lived truth and was truth. I believe that Christians need to be less combative with their approach towards TRUTH, however stand firm in the fact that "ONLY WE HAVE THE TRUTH." Ultimately we'll walk away like Jesus; totally and supernaturally unharmed. Scripture says "Jesus walked right through the mob and went on his way."

Spending March w/ Jesus 3-4-09 "Water into Wine"

Jesus Changes Water into Wine

Read John 2:1-11

What a way to start out your ministry. Nah, don't heal a blind guy, don't walk on water, don't disappear like a bad magic trick during a game of hide-n-seek. Instead.....lets get this party started. We bout to get crunked in hear. haha. Ok. I am kidding; Kinda! For all you Hyper Nazarenes and Baptists who seem to take the FUN out of Fundamental; Jesus just blew your boxers off. Or should I say your tighty whiteys? For you southerners who are a little confused, Yes....it says Jesus turned water into wine....not sweet tea.

None the less. I did learn something else from this passage. Something that you may not see when you are fist looking at this. Most people look at Jesus in this passage but neglect to look at the two servants. Check out this story from their perspective.

Jesus just gets told by Momma Mary that there's no more wine and to fix the problem. Jesus seems a little perturbed about this and doesn't want to help out, he says specifically that it is not yet his time. However there are probably a couple of the servers around hearing this conversation. Momma Mary tells them to do whatever Jesus tells them. So what does he do? "Yo, go get me some water and put it into the stone jars." says Jesus. I am sure by now these two guys are pretty confused. then he tells them to take the water to the Master (Their Boss) to be tasted. Imagine what was going through their mind as they began to walk to their master? This is what I would have been thinking. "This is so stupid, we're definitely fired after this one." "What in the world are we doing, bring a pot of water to the Master for freakin a taste test? This is dumb."

Then it happened. Probably right before their eyes. They watched as a pitcher of water that they just got from a well, turned into some of the best wine they have ever had. They were probably absolutely blown away. Miracles like this don't just happen. Not at wedding parties. Right? Wrong!

What possessed these guys to actually begin to walk to their Master with a pitcher of water. I'll tell you what it was. Jesus spoke! Today Jesus still speaks. And...when we listen and are obedient to what he tells us to do, our eyes are open to see the supernatural miracles that only Christ can perform.

What miracle is God trying to show me? What am I not seeing because I am not doing what Christ has told me to do? This is why Christ said many time in the gospel of Mark "Those who have eyes, let them see." Jesus, I want to see. Cleanse me of my unbelief and forgive me of my sin so I can stand in the gospel and see. I WANT TO SEE!

Spending March w/ Jesus 3/3/09 "Tempted after a High"

John the Witness, Jesus, and Temptation

Read Matthew 3:1-4:11

This past week we had a friend of ours become a "Born Again, Child of God." It is such a cool story that maybe I will share the full details at another time if she gives me permission. It was one of the most beautiful transformations that I have been able to see in my Christian life so far. I can look back at this person and see how God has been literally wooing her over the past few months. God surrounded her with strong believers, softened her heart to the Word of God, and gave a few people the platform to love her and speak straight with her.

I am sharing this story because it tied into this scripture so perfectly. In Matthew 4, Jesus has just been baptized and is now set out to live the rest of his life on public mission to fulfill all that God has for him (I am not saying that he wasn't already doing that, however this was the beginning of his public ministry). Immediately after he came out of the water from baptism, scripture tells us, heaven opened up and there was a voice that said "This is my Son, whom I love, with him I am well pleased." It was this supernatural work of God for many to see. The Holy Spirit came and ascended on him in the form of a dove. How cool would it have been to see this.

Anyway, one would think that after an experience like this in a persons life, immediately the Holy Spirit wipes out all fear, doubt, lust, etc and makes the life of a believer as simple, easy, and convenient as possible. I mean we're talking about God here. Of course God would do that for us, we're his children, Right? Wrong!! That is not the case at all. Matthew 4 shows us that after the supernatural, the Holy Spirit will lead you into temptation. What???????????? The Holy Spirit leads you into temptation? No he doesn't, Satan leads you into temptation. Wrong again!! Read Matthew 4:1 again and see for yourself. The Holy Spirit does that. That's just how He roles.

I think back to my own life and it is exactly what I experienced. After I became a Christian, I was thrown into a relationship that had sexual temptation all over it, I was put on a basketball team with many unbelievers who were rebelling against God, I was invited to parties, had drugs thrown my way, and many more stories. Unlike Jesus, I failed God in these situations and fell at the feet of temptation.

I wish that someone warned me about that. I wish someone told me that after the supernatural, the Holy Spirit lead you into temptation. I wish I was on better guard against what the Holy Spirit does and Satan's schemes.

I will briefly share an excerpt of a dialog that took place after our friend was saved by Christ. I thought it ties in well.

Happy Birthday. So why the Happy Birthday? Because you've been born again!!!!! HOLLA>>>> That’s a big freakin deal. Congratulations. That is huge. The bible says that ALL of Heaven throws a party when one sinner comes to repentance and trusts in Christ. My advise to you from here on out is to just fall more and more in love with Jesus. He is so beautiful and such a gentleman to his children. Be on guard because the enemy will try and convince you that your salvation is not real and you will experience doubt. This is just his normal tactics, but I know your stronger than that.

Her response:
thank you guys so much, I really feel like I can breathe for the first time ever in my life. Pretty cool, huh? You are right, there have already been thoughts in my head, and I just let Satan know to take it up with God, his issues are not mine.

It is beautiful to see God at work in the people around you. Isn't it? Oh yeah!!!

Spending March w/ Jesus 3-2-09 "He's Born"

Christ our Lord is born: Matthew 1:18-25

There is much on my mind as I am writing this. Maybe because of the things that I am witnessing right now, God spoke to me a little differently about this passage than what is originally perceived. The two things that stand out more than anything are Obedience and Submission.

When I think of Joseph, this is almost more that I can even fathom. He is in love with the woman of his dreams, she comes and tells him that she pregnant with the Holy Spirit's baby (Yeah right), then he has a freakin dream where an angel comes to tell him that his wife is going to give birth to God in the flesh and that his child will take away the sins of the world. Wow, what a day. That's more than I could handle.

In Joesph you can see such obedience and submission to Christ the child, and his Father in heaven. I wonder how hard it was for Joseph to look at this situation and be able to self evaluate his place? Do I leave her? Do I raise this boy? What is my role? How am I going to raise God? So many questions. I wonder what Joseph was doing when he finally decided that the best possible thing to do was to be selfless and just play his part? To lay aside his goals, his desires, his dreams, his life, so that he could play his part in the most influential time in all of history. What a great model he must have been for Jesus as he was growing up; having a father who was more interested in the plan of God rather than his own plan.

You can see that before Jesus was even born, he was already influencing the decisions of his earthly dad. That forces me to ask the same question about myself. How is Christ influencing my decisions today? What is Christ doing right now as I type this blog, to mold me into his likeness? How is God moving today in my life?

In verse 19 scripture calls Joseph a righteous man. It is clear in the whole of scripture that Joseph was considered righteous because he believed and trusted in God the Father. He was no more moral than anyone else; however he was considered righteous because he knew God and was known by God. Just as Joseph showed submission and obedience in verses 18-25; verse 19 states that he had been walking with God for some time now; thus God considered him a righteous man. In the NT we are now considered righteous through belief and trust in Christ to cover our sins and Lord over our lives.

So here are the questions I will ask myself today:

1. How am I playing my part in what God has planned today?

2. Am I submitting and being obedient to Christ toady? How or how not?

3. Am I aware of the grace that is covering my sin today, which labels me righteous?

4. How am I standing in the gospel and experiencing it today?

Spending March w/ Jesus 3-1-09 "Jesus Foretold"

For the next 30 days I will be studying through a "Reading Plan" called 30 days with Jesus. Each day I will go through the life of Jesus and blog about what I am learning. I will share what God is doing in me personally and in my life all together. I invite you to join me on this journey. Each day I will give the scripture reference that I read along with thoughts.

Jesus Foretold. Read Isaiah 53

There are so many amazing things about this passage of scripture but lets start with the author. Isaiah is referenced in the NT more than 65 times which is far more than anyone else from the OT. His name literally means "The Lord is salvation" and I think that meaning applies so strongly in this passage. This is probably the most referenced passage in all of scripture when we think of the prophecies of Christ. Isaiah literally walked me through the entire life of Christ even to the details of his appearance and method of death. All of that being said, it was written 700 years before Christs birth. Isaiah was a great man of God. Ministering for about 60 years without seeing one convert as far as we know. Tradition has it that he was martyred by his king by being literally cut in half with a wooden saw.

The one point that I want to pull out of this portion scripture is this. "What Christ has done, directly impacts those who believe. This entire chapter is about Jesus of Nazareth, but yet was written hundreds of years before his earthly existence. Colossians says that he is the image of the invisible God; the firstborn among all of creation. From my study, I counted that Christ is referenced over 40 times by using the words "Him" or He". Almost every time that Christ is referenced, there is an application to what He has done for those who believe. You can see that when you count that amount of times the words "We, Us, My, Our, etc." are used. In just 12 verses I counted over 25 times that those words are references.

The big theme here is "Atonement". That word can literally be taken as meaning "At one with God" or in other words, "What Christ has done, through his life and death on the cross, created a way for us to be one with God." Through what was done in Christ's life and death, those who believe, can come to him and actually know the Father.

In small group last week I made a comment to someone which was quite controversial. This is what I said. "God does not hear the prayers of those who are not born again." Now, I did not just throw that out there because I felt like it. The reality is that we all want God to hear and answer our prayers. However, listen to what Isaiah says in Chapter 59:1-2.

Surely the arm of the LORD is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.

In essence, this is stating that our sin separated us from God and because of that we do not know him. How can we talk to someone who we don't know?

However Isaiah closes chapter 53 with these words:

"For he bore the sin of many and made intercession for the transgressors."

That is a beautiful statement in which I need to continue to remind myself. I need to remember that "I Know God." I am no more special than anyone else in the world. I am wicked in my thoughts, deeds, and motives. I struggle like everyone else and sometimes I think I struggle more. However, I know God. I know he hears me and listens to me. He speaks to me both through scripture and supernatural revelation. He loves me and cares for me. I am able to cast my issues onto him and trust that he is both Good and Sovereign in everything that I walk through. More importantly I am a part of his plan. He knew me before the creation of this world. He knew that I would run from him and sin against him. And through it all, Isaiah prophesied 700 years before that a Savior would come and provide a way for me to know God. I celebrate that truth today; the truth that "I know God."