Thursday, April 29, 2010

Creation Praising the Lord

Creation praising God is a common theme throughout Scripture, especially in the book of Psalms. Well the last couple of weeks we have had the windows open as it is that nice spring time weather. During the last week about 4:30 every morning I awake to birds singing and it is annoying! My initial thought was I need to yell and scare them away because they are disturbing my sleep. My next thought was to get a bb gun and shoot at them one by one until the quit showing up near my bedroom window.

This morning as I woke up to the same annoying birds, passages like Psalm 148 hit me, which refers to all creation worshiping the Lord. I was waking up late as is common in my busy life and it hit me that these annoying birds start their day off right in worship of the one true Lord over all creation and I struggle to wake up and get to work on time, much less to wake up and praise God before starting my day.

It may sound silly to get convicted through a group of annoying birds, but I think passages like Psalm 148 point to this. John Piper refers to the fasting lifestyle, where I will wake up and desire time with praising God more than even food for my body. I am obviously far from that, but I desire to be there as it is God who sustains my daily life not food.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Physical and Spiritual Shape

I decided today to go running for the first time in a very long time, in addition to going to the gym to work out. Before I attempted my run, in my mind I could run as far and as fast as I had before, but I soon realized I was wrong. I made it through maybe half my run before I found myself wanting to quit and give up...I did eventually walk for part of it, but I had to push through. I realized that I am no where near the shape I should be in, but it also hit me that spiritually people get the same way as they do physically.

To be out of shape physically and spiritually have a lot more in common than people think. Physically I am out of shape because I have gotten older, busier, and find it easier to eat things that are not good for me. I also lack the desire to take the time to make exercise essential in my daily life. On the outside I still look fairly in shape to most, I still weigh the same, but physically I am in much worse shape. Spiritually I find myself out of shape because I have gotten busier, and find it easier not to always spend time in God's Word. Just as with physical exercise I find myself lacking the desire to make time with God a priority in my life, to the point of going without a meal to have that time in His presence. As I go through weeks like this in my life I believe on the outside I still look spiritually in shape, I still believe the same, but spiritually many times I am dry and find the lack of desire to have that fellowship with God.

I wrote all of that to say that I have found myself physically and spiritually out of shape in some regards. I realize that I have a lot of work to do, but plan to push through and endure in both respects. What I wonder though, is how many other people in the church today find themselves in this same situation, but either never recognize it or have no one to help them "shape" up...

Contextualizing the Gospel in the New South

Everyone who cares about church planting at all needs to be at this conference on April 26 and 27 to learn from successful church planters throughout the south.
THE SOUTH IS CHANGING. Through urbanization and the vibrant growth of southern cites and towns, the South is becoming a center for innovative, intellectual and cultural growth. Yet, for the first time in its history, the church in the South is declining faster than anywhere in the country. Advance the Church believes this decline and the exodus away from the faith is due to internal failures rooted in gospel illiteracy and weak gospel contextualization–not due to societal or cultural change.

As we stand at this critical turning point, we must be prepared to respond. This conference is committed to equipping pastors, lay leaders, and members to respond by engaging the changing culture of the South with the unchanging message of the gospel.

As part of the effort to encourage revitalization within churches, Advance the Church is partnering with the Acts29 Network to provide a church planting boot camp on Thursday of the conference at Vintage21 in Raleigh.