Archive for January, 2011

God & Ted Williams

I’m sure we have all seen the story of Ted Williams, the homeless man from Columbus Ohio with ‘The Golden Voice’.  The nation was captivated by the real-life story of an homeless ex-radio announcer who became a crack addict and alcoholic, and was discovered by a Columbus Dispatch writer who video recorded Ted’s booming voice and broadcast it on YouTube.

What is interesting to me in this story is how often God has been brought up in the discussion.  Ted himself gives credit to God and thanks God for this opportunity to leave his troubled life and start anew.  In TV interviews, his family has often brought up God and their faith in Jesus Christ as well.  Often times the media edits out faith and religion from the story, but the faith of Ted Williams seems so intertwined with his story that it is impossible to leave out.

The reason Ted’s story is so captivating is because of our longing for redemption.  We want to see that it can happen to anyone.  We want to believe that a homeless man can become a millionaire.  We want to believe that someone can recover from decades of addiction to drugs and alcohol.  We want to believe in a God who can redeem all things.

And we can.  We must.

Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that Ted Williams will not fall back into a life of addiction.  Every day, all of us are given the choice to pursue things that are not of Jesus Christ.  Ted has already been in rehab and his overnight success has overshadowed his long road to recovery.  It is easy to look to God and thank him when something spectacular happens, but real faith, real trust in God is displayed most powerfully during difficult times.  I hope and pray that Ted Williams (and all of us) will know the God of peace and love in both the mountain tops and valleys of life.

This story is a reminder to me that there is always opportunity for redemption.  It is also a reminder to me that sanctification can be a long a difficult process.

Here is a link to a USA Today writer’s take on God & Ted Williams.

Blessings,

Josh

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Abortion and the Gospel

Here is a great link to get you thinking about abortion and the opportunity it presents to share the gospel.

http://www.lifeinternational.com/site/c.msKTL6PNLrF/b.6501853/k.3503/Sanctity_of_Human_Life_Sunday.htm

Keep praying for hearts to change regarding these precious lives God creates!

In Christ,

Pastor Kevin

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For What Do We Pray?

Several years ago in the summertime I suffered a nasty, but brief reaction to a bee sting that had me hospitalized for an afternoon.  I received many calls, cards, and e-mail notes in the process, with reassuring thoughts and prayer support.

This past week, I let my friends, family, and church family know that I had suffered a tear to a tendon in my pinky finger that might require surgery.  Once again, I have received great support, encouragement, and many offers for prayer.

In reflecting upon the above noted situations, a thought came to me that I am hopeful will challenge those who read this:  In these two circumstances combined I had more people tell me they were praying for me than at any other time in my ministry.  This is a thought, not an accusation, so let me state clearly the following:

  • I am NOT saying that no one prays for me unless I’m injured.
  • I am NOT saying I don’t appreciate the support.
  • I AM saying that within Christianity in general it is uncommon to tell someone you’re praying for them unless there is a physical problem or a difficult situation.
  • I AM saying we should consider changing the way we encourage each other with prayer.

Would you consider it weird if someone walked up to you and said “I’m praying for you?”  You’d probably wonder what was wrong.  The point in praying for each other is that there doesn’t have to be anything wrong.  In fact, overwhelmingly the Bible encourages us to pray for spiritual growth and wisdom.  Here are two examples to consider:

“For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name.  I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.  And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and how high and how deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge–that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”  – Ephesians 3:14-19

“Now, O Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David.  But I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties.  Your servant is here among the people you have chosen, a great people, too numerous to count or number.  So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong . . .” – I Kings 3:7-9

So here is an action point to consider.  As you pray for someone, consider their spiritual needs as well as any physical needs they may have.  Also, will you let them know you are praying for them, even if there is nothing wrong?  The point of this is not for everyone to tell me that they’re praying for me.  The point is to get us to encourage one another daily with our prayers for both physical needs and spiritual growth.

I hope and pray for your growth as you process through this brief challenge.

In Christ,

Pastor Kevin

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1-16-11 I Corinthians 9:19-27

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Jacob wrestles with God

In Youth Group this past Sunday, we looked at the story of Jacob and Esau, and the story of Jacob wrestling with God.  I reluctantly use the word story here because of course its important to remember that these Old Testament stories are not just stories, but rather real life events that actually happened.

The story of Jacob wrestling with God is found in Genesis 32.  Here are the highlights as I see them:

– Jacob journeys to find Esau in order to reconcile with him after Esau hated him for taking his birthright.

– Jacob wrestles ‘The Man’ in the middle of the night.  Turns out it was God. (Yikes!)

– ‘The Man’ could not overpower Jacob.

– ‘The Man’ sent Jacob away limping.

– ‘The Man’ renames Jacob, and calls him Israel.

I myself have been wrestling with some questions that come out of this story.

– Why did God choose to wrestle with Jacob on his journey to reconcile with Esau?

– Why didn’t God reveal His name to Jacob?  Why did he answer Jacob’s question with a question?

– If this was God in human form, was it Jesus?

– Why does Jacob win this wrestling match if it was truly against God?

– In what ways should we wrestle with God?

Blessings,

Josh

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Radical

Where have you heard this word used most in the past decade?  I would venture to guess that I have heard it most in reference to Radical-Extremists Terrorist groups.  Perhaps this connection has negatively distorted my view of the word a bit, but in other ways it strangely paints a picture of what the word radical means.

The top three definitions according Websters Dictionary are:

1 : of, relating to, or proceeding from a root.

2 : of or relating to the origin : FUNDAMENTAL

3 : very different from the usual or traditional : EXTREME

I find it so interesting that the word radical means both fundamental and extreme.  Doesn’t that seem like two competing definitions?  It isn’t though!  Let’s think about the word radical in the context of our faith in Jesus Christ.  If we think of radically following after Christ, what radical means is returning to what Jesus actually said and following it.  This is fundamental in that Jesus Christ is our root, our origin, and the basic foundation for our faith.  This is extreme in that it is counter-cultural, and so few of us Christians actually do it!
I received a book entitled RADICAL for Christmas this year, and it is by David Platt.  The book’s tag line is ‘Taking back your faith from the American dream.’  I am both excited and terrified to read this book.  Jesus calls us to abandon everything in order to follow after him, and my human natures rebel against that calling.
So I leave you with a question.  Does Jesus Christ call all of us to live radically?
Blessings,
Josh
***Reader Beware***
The Holy Spirit may actually convict you to abandon something that is very important to you.  I implore you to pray, think, listen, and act upon these convictions if you decide to read this book.

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1-9-11 I Corinthians 9:1-18

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