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Monday Motivation – September 9, 2019

News

Expanding the Digital Footprint of Our Churches

Still trying to figure out how to use social media to the glory of God? You’re not alone, friend. Here is a helpful article from Ed Stetzer that I think will help us all as we head into this work week (source: Christianity Today).

Benny Hinn Renounces the Prosperity Gospel?

This video clip has been making the rounds on the internet this past week. If it is truly sincere, then this is something to celebrate! If it turns out to be just “talk,” then Christians everywhere need to become more and more vigilant. I do pray that Benny would come to know and embrace the Gospel of our Lord, Jesus Christ (source: YouTube).

Sanders: My Administration Would Feature Population Control In Climate Fight

There is much I could say about Senator Sander’s remarks, but I’ll just say this: the rhetoric he uses in this video is beyond troubling to me (source: the Washington Free Beacon).

Does a Remote Worker Need to Put in 40 Hours?

As someone who works odd hours with strange schedules, I struggle with this issue a lot. I am glad to hear some Christian voices starting to address these questions because tons of my friends work or have worked remotely in the past. Let me know if you have any suggestions or advice on this topic as I am curious to hear other people’s opinions (source: the Gospel Coalition).


There are 3.1 billion unreached people on the planet even though experts estimate that the church has 3,000 times the financial resources and 9,000 times the man power to finish the great commission.
#TheSend

Posted by The Send on Thursday, September 5, 2019

 

Note: This post is not an affirmation of The Send movement, rather it is a reminder that the Church has little excuse for not going to the unreached.


Music

smiling coffee cup

Monday Motivation – August 26, 2019

Monday Motivation consists of links to articles, books, podcasts and/or music I am enjoying at the moment. I hope that they bless you as you begin your work week.

News

Thai boy rescued from cave recounts harrowing ordeal one year later: ‘God answered me’

Here is a short quote from Adun, the only Christian among the 13 boys: “Help came from God during the hardest time,” Adun said. “I very intently prayed, and God answered me with His help. It was me and God together facing that situation, and I am thankful to Him for helping me get out of the cave.” (source: Fox News)

How the Shortage of Young Men in Churches Affects Marriage

Editor at the Gospel Coalition, Joe Carter, examines the recent data coming out of the Institute for Family Studies. What do you think? Did you meet your spouse in the church? (source: the Gospel Coalition)

Facebook’s AI team maps the whole population of Africa

I thought that these maps were fascinating. I am curious to see how missions agencies and NGOs will use this information in the days to come. (source: Tech Crunch)

Greg Laurie: Johnny Cash Sometimes Heard Holy Spirit Say, ‘I Still Love You’

American evangelist, Greg Laurie, takes a look at the faith of the Man in Black himself, Johnny Cash. I believe he has also written a book about Johnny Cash’s relationship with Lord. Be sure to check it out! (source: Charisma News)

Mexican pastor shot and killed after Sunday church service

On a much more serious note, be praying about this situation in Mexico. May God strengthen the families and congregation directly affected by this tragedy. Lord, come soon. (source: Christian Post)

Planned Parenthood Refuses Title X Funding in Response to Trump Administration Restrictions

“Prior to its withdrawal, Planned Parenthood was receiving $60 million of the $286 million allocated annually through Title X. The organization will continue to receive roughly $500 million in annual Medicaid reimbursements from the federal government.” (source: National Review)


Watch the animated film “The Pilgrim’s Progress” for Free (2 days only)

Here is the trailer!


 

Music

smiling coffee cup

Monday Motivation – August 19th, 2019

Monday Motivation will consist of links to articles, books, podcasts and/or music I am enjoying at the moment. I hope that they bless you as you begin your work week.

News

Americans Spend More Money on Pet Halloween Costumes Than Reaching Lost: Missions Expert

Andrew Scott, president of OM USA, addresses some of the problems and issues surrounding mission work among the unreached, as well as, strongly urging for a mass sending movement of Christians to work in these places.

What Do You Do If Most of Your Church Members Do Not Live In the Community?

In this article, Thom S. Rainer answers a frequently asked question about how church geography and demographics interact with one another. Does your church reflect the demographics of the community in which it is located or does it stand out as being very different?

Dayton Shooter’s Scrawls Reveals He Fantasized ‘Hunting’ for Humans

In light of the recent events in America, I think it is important to remember that there is always a underlying spiritual battle going on. It begs the question: do American pastors know how to identify and respond to demonic oppression? Do we still believe it exists?

Eugene Bach Talks About Their New Pill-Sized Hologram Bible!

Check out this Missions Pulse podcast clip! It sounds crazy, but I sincerely hope it’s not for the sake of the persecuted church.


This Young Man’s Poem

 

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Let’s all strive to be more aware of those around us this week. They might be going through something more difficult than we even realize.


Music

 

My God Sings

My God Sings

Often when I am driving in the car by myself I will sing praises to God. When it is just me I don’t have to worry about how loud I am being or feel self-conscious when my voice cracks. Sometimes I’ll sing an old familiar hymn like “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing.” Other times I will sing spontaneous songs of praise. They may not be the most beautiful songs ever written, but they express the cry of my heart in that moment. I love singing unto God. I think it is one of the sweetest privileges we have as believers. It is amazing to think that God not only hears our prayers, He also listens to our music.

He hears each note sung and every chord struck. Like a father watching his child play at his first piano recital, I can picture our Heavenly Father with a big grin and a camcorder in His hand. He loves every second of our songs written for Him. They bring a smile to His face. And He never forgets them; He never tapes over the footage.

Rest assured that God isn’t phased by a wrong notes. He doesn’t cringe when our instruments are a little out of tune. You see, God listens to more than our music; He listens to our hearts. We can play all the right notes, but have the wrong motives. We can have our instruments tuned perfectly, but our hearts not tuned “to sing [His] grace .” We don’t sing to impress God or earn His love. We sing because we love Him. We sing because we are free. We sing because He is worthy of our songs and so much more.

And all the while, He is singing over us. Read the words of Zephaniah 3:17 carefully:

The Lord your God is with you,
the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you;
in his love he will no longer rebuke you,
but will rejoice over you with singing.

The Lord of All Creation is so delighted in us, His children, that He sings songs of rejoicing! Even with all of our sin and repeated failures, He still delights in us. Friend, if the god you serve isn’t singing, he isn’t the One True God. A god who isn’t rejoicing over his people is probably a god who shouts only words of condemnation. But the God of the Bible remembers our sins no more (Hebrews 8:12).  I pray that these verses would be a reminder to us all of how much God loves us.

I don’t know about you, but I feel a song coming on…

What Do Christians Look Like?

What Do Christians Look Like?

When I was in high school, my church’s youth group would go to a conference called Winter Xtreme in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Perhaps some of you have heard of it. It is a jam-packed weekend of Christians bands and speakers. I remember regularly hearing Casting Crowns and NewSong perform at these events, much to the delight of everyone in attendance. These guys are considered CCM royalty at this point. But, one year a much different band took the stage by the name of Flyleaf. They sounded and looked nothing like Casting Crowns or NewSong. Instead, they looked like this:

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Their music was loud and aggressive. All of the band members were wearing black clothes and eyeliner. The guitarist and bass player were spinning around on stage while playing. And the lead singer, Lacey Sturm, was screaming some of the lyrics at times. It was such a shock to the youth groups in attendance that some people started to boo, while others packed up their things and left. My youth leaders decided to let each of us decide whether or not we wanted to stay. I decided to stay because, well, I liked their sound. And as a drummer myself, I wanted to watch their drummer because he was playing with such speed and velocity.

By the time Flyleaf was on their second or third song, almost half of the audience was gone. It is such a shame because during their set, Lacey Sturm, gave one of the clearest explanations of the Gospel I have ever heard. She also shared her testimony about how close she was to committing suicide before she heard the Gospel herself. That night, I remember many students going forward to receive Christ for the first time. I know that the Lord used her story to reach young people battling the same issues.

I can’t help but wonder about all of the people who left before she shared her story. How many leaders and parents took their students out because they passed a quick judgment on Flyleaf’s looks and music? I have been to many Christian concerts over the years, but I honestly don’t remember hearing a lead singer stop the show in order to share the Gospel. You see, there is a danger in looking at someone and saying, “There is no way they are Christians, just look at them!” What does a Christian look like, anyway?

If a suit and tie made people Christians, I’d buy them for everyone I could. If eating Chick-fil-a could save you, I’d buy as many chicken sandwiches as I could afford. If people could become born again simply by using essential oils, I’d give them out to every person I could come in contact with. But these things aren’t what makes you a Christian.

Sure, you will see many genuine Christians wearing suits, eating Chick-fil-a, and using essential oils, but these reveal nothing about their standing with God. It doesn’t matter what we look like on the outside. What matters is what has taken place within the depths of our souls. Please listen to me—you can look Christian and still end up in hell. You can wear all the Christian t-shirts, own an ESV Study Bible, listen to TobyMac, teach a Sunday School class, even preach behind a pulpit and still not know the One, True, Living God.  

Have you repented of your sins and trusted in Jesus as your personal Savior? Have you been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb? 

God is calling people from every tribe, nation, tongue…and walk of life. Just because someone doesn’t look like you doesn’t mean that they don’t know Jesus. Rejoice in how diversely beautiful the body of Christ is already and will be once the Great Commission is fulfilled. Thank God that Christians can look like you, like Casting Crowns, like Flyleaf, like anyone who calls upon the name of the Lord. Maybe Lacey Sturm didn’t look like someone I’d see at my church, but on that night, she looked like Jesus.

Learn a New Skill to the Glory of God

Learn a New Skill to the Glory of God

Have you ever tried learning a instrument? Or studied a foreign language? It can be a very challenging undertaking. There are plenty of wrong notes and words at first, but eventually you get to where you can play your first song or have a conversation in the new language. You feel a great sense of accomplishment for persevering through all of the hours of practice and repetition. It’s a wonderful feeling!

Learning new skills can open up doors of opportunity that were previously closed to you. It allows you to make new friends and develop new relationships with people you never would have met before.  For the past two years, my wife and I have been studying the Thai language. It has been a rather daunting task at times, but it has also been extremely rewarding. It is difficult to imagine where we would be right now if we hadn’t been studying Thai. We have met so many people as a result of our studies and practice of the language. I believe it has also allowed us to make real friends with Thai people because they see we appreciate their language and culture enough to learn it. We still have a long journey ahead of us on the road to fluency, but I know that the Lord will help us every step of the way.

Of course, as missionaries, we aren’t just trying to learn the language so that we can order Pad Thai or talk about our favorite Thai movie. We are pouring hours and hours into studying so that one day we can preach the Gospel and share God’s Word in Thai, without too much distraction from our foreign accent. There is a goal to all of this: it’s to make Jesus known among Thai people, that they too might glorify God.

Maybe you are considering learning a new language, taking a cooking or photography class, or perhaps, learning how to juggle. Whatever it is, let me encourage you to do it. Pursue it! Give it a try! You never know, you may end up loving it. It may even take your life in a completely different direction. But, whatever you end up trying, leverage it to the glory of God. Do painters need Jesus? Do writers need Jesus? What about skateboarders? Yes, of course they do! And you could be the person to tell them about Him. Is that not reason enough to give it shot?

In 1 Corinthians 9:19-23, the Apostle Paul says:

For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a slave to all, that I might win the more. And to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who are under the Law, as under the Law, though not being myself under the Law, that I might win those who are under the Law; to those who are without law, as without law, though not being without the law of God but under the law of Christ, that I might win those who are without law. To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak; I have become all things to all men, that I may by all means save some. And I do all things for the sake of the gospel, that I may become a fellow partaker of it.

Paul was willing to do some “preevangelism” in hopes that unbelievers would be more open to listening to the Gospel. If he had to learn a new skill, so be it. In verse 19, Paul says that although he is a free man, he has made himself a slave to all people. He was willing to do whatever it took in order to save some. Are we?

3 Songs I Listen to On Repeat

3 Songs I Listen to On Repeat

If you know me well, you know how much I love music. I love playing it, singing it, listening to it, and occasionally writing it. I actually planned on majoring in music (as a percussionist) in college before God call me to missions. Even though God steered me in a different direction, I still have a special place for music in my heart. The Lord has used music many times to help me get through some really difficult seasons. He has also used it to build my faith and deepen my understanding of His Word. Today I want to share three songs that have blessed me tremendously in recent years.

1. Holy Spirit Have Your Way by Leeland

This song has a special place in my heart. I listen to it all the time and yet, it never seems to get old. It is such a beautiful prayer about surrendering one’s life completely to God. I like the album version a lot, but the orchestral version is also very beautiful. I am currently learning how to play this song on the piano, so that I can play and sing it whenever I want. If you interested in hearing about how brothers Leeland and Jack Mooring were inspired to write this song, check out this interview by Worship Together.

2. He’s Always Been Faithful by Sara Groves

Sara Groves is one of my favorite Christian artists. She is a wonderful storyteller and a gifted pianist in her own right. Her retelling of “Great is Thy Faithfulness” is one of the most beautiful adaptions I have ever heard. It is hard to think that someone could improve upon such a classic hymn, but I think Sara Groves has done it with this song. If you have never listened to the song or her music in general, I strongly encourage you to do so today. Also, be sure to listen to Sara’s testimony about what she was going through when she wrote this beautiful song.

3. Farther Along by Josh Garrels

This was the first song I ever heard by Josh Garrels. It was so different from everything else out on Christian radio at the time (2012). I instantly fell in love with Josh’s music. In fact, I can sing almost all the lyrics to every song on the album, “Love & War & The Sea In Between.” Like the previous song in the list, “Farther Along” is also an old hymn reimagined; however, I think the original hymn is not very well known anymore. I have only occasionally seen it in some older Baptist hymnals. The chorus in both songs goes like this:

Farther along we’ll know more about it,
Farther along we’ll understand why;
Cheer up, my brother, live in the sunshine,
We’ll understand it all by and by.

In the verses, the author contemplates why it sometimes seems the righteous suffer, while the wicked thrive. He concludes in the chorus that while we may not understand why God allows certain things to happen now, we will one day, “farther along.” Personally, I like Josh Garrels’ verses a little bit more than the original, but they are both filled with rich truths. Be sure to give them both a listen when you get the chance. Also, here is a video of the concert where I got to hear him perform the song live in Atlanta. It was awesome!

I hope you enjoyed this list! I plan to share more songs in the future, as I am always updating my playlist. What are some songs you like to listen to on repeat? I would love to hear about the songs that you hold close and dear to your heart.