Working on a Dream




Friday, July 30, 2010

The Bible says that everyone who follows Jesus will have a "spiritual gift." Usually you will have one or two very strong attributes that are given to you by God to use in service to Him and to others. is a website that makes it easy for you to find your gift(s). Check it out and find out where God has blessed you. When you are done, print out a copy and show it to your minister or church group and maybe you can find a place where you can use your unique gift in a special way in service to God.
I promise you, if you find your right fit, you will excel and love what you are called to do!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Sponge Theory

So I have this simple theory that helps keep things in perspective as I continue my faith journey. As a Christian, I am like a sponge. Take that sponge and dunk it in water and immediately it will absorb all the water. Then, as time passes, the sponge can take no more water. It is full. The sponge now needs taken out of the water and rung out. This simple analogy serves as a reminder that too many times Christians just sit in the water and soak. Going to Church, youth group, Sunday school, etc. are great, but there needs to be a time for the stuff you are learning to be practiced in real life. Going to the City Rescue Mission and looking for service projects are just some ways I try to get out of the water and squeeze out.
Got it? Good, now go ring out!
-"Faith without works is dead"-

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Book...

No Plan B- Wrapping things up...

Truth #7: Christ Command the Church to make the Gospel Known to All Nations: Romans 10: "Everyone who calls upon the Name of the Lord will be saved." How then can someone call upon the One if they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone telling them? And how can they tell if they are not sent?" (Romans 10) -Anthony's commentary: No getting around this one. Remember the old adage...Every member a minister? Well today it goes something like this... Every member a missionary. Case in point: a couple of weeks ago when I was walking into the church on a Sunday morning, I looked over and watched a group of people on our property playing soccer. I came in and informed pastor about them and we thought it was a good idea to invite them to the service. As I went out I grabbed my Bible and began asking them if they would like to join us. NO was the resounding answer. I then changed by approach and asked if I can stay there with them and lead a Bible study right on the spot. The answer: NO. The point is I tried to make myself available to Christ and His Kingdom work. If the Church is to grow, then the people in it must be ready and available to be an everyday missionary.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

1. 2. 3. Things to think about (right now)

Three Things to Think About:

1. Do others see your Faith?
2. Are you known by your Love?
3. Are you a voice of Hope?

-I Corinthians 13:13

No Plan B- Part III

Truth #5: God has made a way of Salvation for the Lost. "Righteousness comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe." Anthony's commentary: Remember playing the game Monopoly? The point was to own every piece of hold all the cards. Well, God is our Creator and He dictates this truth. Although unpopular, a Christian holds to the core belief that salvation is provided by the blood of Jesus. (John 14:6, Acts 4:12). Truth #6: People cannot come to God apart from faith in Christ. "Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." (Rom. 5:1) Anthony's commentary: Most people think that at the end of their lives God will place scales in front of them and weight their good deeds vs. their bad. Trust me, you do not want this. You do not want justice because that will lead to to eternal hell. What you want is God's grace offered to anyone that places their faith in Jesus.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

No Plan B- continued...

Truth 3: All People are Guilty before God. -In Romans chapter's 1-3, Paul displays how all mankind find themselves in a position of guilt before a Holy God. Anthony commentary: Come on now. This one should be easy. What don't we rationalize? We sin in word, thought, and deed every day... Before you get all crazy on me, think if it were possible to have every single thought you ever had in your life recorded. OK, now would you be willing to have those thoughts played before all of your family and friends? I thought not. Let's us move on now. Truth 4: All People are condemned for Rejecting God. -"Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God's sight..."(Rom. 3:20) Anthony's commentary-Did you ever have someone burst into your room while you were sleeping in the middle of the night? How did you react? I am guessing it was not pleasant. This is the same idea with our reaction to God. His presence in our life exposes us for who and what we really are. It is like pouring salt on a wound, God intensifies our fallen state simply because when we look to God we can finally see ourselves clearly. Utterly full of sin.
Stay tuned: Truth 5 & 6 coming soon!

Friday, July 23, 2010

No Plan B --

Just finished up a challenging book titled, Radical by David Platt. Below I would like to summarize chapter seven of his book, NO PLAN B. Throughout the chapter, he summarizes seven truths found in the book of Romans. Truth 1: All people have knowledge of God. Romans 1: 18, "God has revealed Himself to all people through His creation" -Anthony's commentary on this. Just walk to a window (any will do, as long as you can look out of it and see trees, grass, flowers or hear birds singing, etc). You have just witnessed God's handiwork. This is why you can get in an airplane and go anywhere on earth and find people worshiping a deity of some sort. Truth 2: All people reject God. The Apostle Paul continues... "Although they knew God, they neither glorified Him as God nor gave thanks to Him." -Anthony's commentary on this. Because of sin and its ramifications, all mankind does not worship the true God. Mankind's heart is an idol factory. And by idol I mean (1) The three-dimensional objects you can see, touch and feel AND (2) mankind creating God into OUR image and likeness. -Confused about this one? You hear it almost everyday, "God wants me to be happy and is loving..." This is merely a person conjuring up their ideas about God on their own. The remedy to this? 2 words, the Bible. Truth 3 and 4.... Hold on! Coming soon!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Death Took a Holiday

You remember, Betty? The elderly lady Christen and I hung out with and shared stories and looked at photo albums? Well, there was one more story I wanted to share with you--- When we were leafing through the pictures, Betty stopped and focused on one in particular. It was one of her son, Charles. He was an infant in the picture. She started telling us that she tried for over 10 years to try having a baby and during delivery, she had almost died. Then she smiled, paused, and then said, "But on that day, death took a holiday." Time stood still in my head. "Betty are you some kind of poet!?" Seriously, who says that... Can I just say my mind raced to I Corinthians 15. "In the twinkling of an eye" , Paul writes, "we will be changed into a glorious state." It was this truth that hammered home the reality that every person who loves and obeys Jesus can say with confidence, "death has taken a holiday." You see Jesus, swallowed up death for us. He absorbed its pain and robbed it of its glory.
"For God causes all things to work together for the good, to those who love God and are called according to His purposes." Romans 8:28

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

My Dwelling

Ever wonder what Northminster looks like?

Her path and Your path

Yesterday Christen and I went over to visit Betty. Betty lives in our park, is 83 and very lonely. We brought over our wedding album and as we visited, she got her albums out to share with us. Her albums spanned her entire life. Still shots of over 80 years of events and memories distilled into 5 albums. I could not help but feel sad. Sad because this is the path all of us must go down. I see her at 16 and the glow on her face is amazing. So much life in front of her. Her smile wide to the point that her eyes barley remain open. Then, I glance up to see a frail lady struggling to get around. And then I think to myself:
-What I am, she once was. What she is, by God's grace, I will become.
"Remember your Creator in the days of your youth: Before the days of adversity come, and the years approach when you will say, 'I have no delight in them." -Ecclesiastes 12: 1

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Is Anyone Alive Out There?!

If you have ever been to a Bruce Springsteen concert the words in the subject line will undoubtedly resonate with you. In every show, at least once, Bruce will look at the crowd and yell the phrase..."Is there anyone alive out there!?" I like it when he does this. Wait, scratch that...I love it. At first glance, it seems like the response to the question would be a resounding "yes" but I am guessing that Bruce is asking something more than is your heart beating.
I would venture to say that he is wanting to know if you are living your life in a way that transcends the mundane. In his song Radio Nowhere, he sings:
"I was spinnin' round a dead dial
Just another lost number in a file
Dancin' round a dark hole
Just searchin' for a world with some soul
This is Radio Nowhere, Is there anyone alive out there?"
This challenge should be heard by all Christ-followers. Jesus said that His followers will be marked by "Abundant Life." (John 10:10) So my question is, why is it that you celebrate so sparingly?
I once heard a story of a man who used his "fine china" when his children came home with A's on their report cards. Growing up, the closest I ever got to my parents china was when I tripped and fell over the electric fence that was guarding them.
Reality is, Jesus offers true joy right now in your life. As a matter of fact, if you follow Jesus, then you are plugged into the Only thing that can fill you with true hope and joy.
-Challenge: Live your life out loud. Find something to celebrate. Use that fine China. Live your life the way Jesus wants you to without apology.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Sheep Walkers

Seth Godin coins this phrase (sheep walkers) in his book titled Tribes. He argues that our society basically trains people to check their brains at the door and desires everyone to fit in. Sadly, I think this is true. From school to church to work...everyone wants conformity. Thinking a bit more about this concept, I started reflecting about the music people listen to, the movies people watch and the things people enjoy. People flock to the extra-ordinary don't they? I know a thousand garage bands, a million lame movies and a billion average churches. But the ones that stick out are the ones you and I flock to.
My peeve is with the Church in general. History has shown us that the Church has been responsible for producing some of the greatest thinkers and talents the world has ever known. My questions is...where are they now? Unfortunately, Bible colleges and Seminaries have followed the path of the sheep walker...churning out drones for pastors with no heart and no vision. Oh, and the people who fill the pews are not long behind. Line up 200 church members and you will find only about 40% using their God given gifts and talents.
The Christian life was never meant to be this way. If you are reading this, do me a favor. --Ask yourself: 1. What are my gifts? (what makes me unique) 2. How can I use those gifts? (look for a place in the church) 3. Who can be a mentor for me? (who is using their gifts and will enable me to find and utilize my own) 4. If there is no place for me to use my gifts then kick down the door and create one...Life is too short.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Rare Commodity

What is rare these days? ---Leadership The Reason: "Few people are willing to go through the discomfort required to lead." -Seth Godin, from his book Tribes

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Tweet, Tweet...

Need I say more?

First Be then Do

So you want to lead, right? Too often leaders only focus on the people they are out in front of, besides and behind. In essence, they solely focus on the audience. Do not get me wrong, this is brilliant, knowing and understanding your people is essential. However, there is another side to this same coin. If you want to to lead you have to focus on yourself. Looking in the mirror is like looking into your soul. Character-work is vital for leadership. It will be your foundation and the element that qualifies you to lead others. Aubrey Malphurs says that character involves being and is a matter of your heart. While doing involves your gifts, talents, etc. The idea is that in order for you to lead successfully, you have to focus on your being as well as on your doing. You want to know something? Sadly, our world generally focuses on doing. -Get this report done! -Set up this appointment! -Get me those numbers! Reality is Being precedes Doing because people can scam, cheat, & lie through all of the above scenario's. I recently heard of a young man who graduated on top of his class only to latter have been revealed as a cheater. It is interesting that Paul instructed Timothy (a young minister), [To]"Let no one look down on your youthfulness: but be an example in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity." (I Tim. 4:12) Paul's counsel, as an older, wiser man, was for Timothy to first focus on his own character. Being precedes Doing: -Always has -Always will

Friday, July 9, 2010

Wait---You want me to do what?!

Go and look at yourself right now. Really, find a mirror and give yourself an overview. What did you see? I bet you only thought about your outside appearance (i.e. my clothes, my bad hair day, my pants that are too tight). How many of you thought about more than your outside appearance and looked deeper into your soul? Did you ever notice how easy it is to find fault with everyone else with the exception of the King of the Universe (that is you by the way). It is like we are naturally geared to analyze everyone we come in contact with and just ignore ourselves along the way. It is interesting that Jesus addresses this very issue with some of His most challenging words: "Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the log that is in your own?" (Matthew 7:3). Jesus certainly had a way with making complex issues simple with such vivid word pictures. Imagine someone walking around with a Red Wood stuck in their eye...not only would this be scary looking but they would constantly be yelling, "DUCK!" Boiled down to its essence, Jesus was trying to get you and me to first look within and then look externally. Being self-aware is a lifelong and challenging process that at times leaves you reeling. However, if you want to be an effective Kingdom worker, you must be willing to go further and press harder to conform toward the likeness of Christ. (See Phil 3:12-14).

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Don't Just Sit There

Assumptions can be an interesting thing. They often can lead to bad things. The problem is that everyone walking has them. But what happens when an entire group of people hold the same wrong assumption? The Church in America has an assumption about how it ought to function. The primary idea is that the pastor, not the people, must do the work of the ministry. Aubrey Malphurs, professor of pastoral ministries at Dallas Theological Seminary writes concerning this false model: You can trace this false model back to Roman Catholicism where the priest (clergy) was responsible for ministering to the people (laity). In the Protestant Church, this view has also been prevalent. First, because the pastor is the one who has been trained for ministry. Second, God has called the pastor to the ministry. Third, pastors are ordained. Fourth, (you guessed it) pastors are paid to do the work of the ministry. Although you may have read through the above paragraph and thought that those were compelling reasons for the pastor to be the primary caregiver for the church. We have to go deeper than man's reasoning and enter the Holy Scriptures. Ephesians 4:11-13 states, "Pastors are called to equip the body to do the work of the ministry." In other words, one of the central roles of the clergy is to "equip their congregation" so that they can minister. Think about how genius this is if the Church would just follow this pattern. Clergy-centered ministries focuses on one person doing all the work. How much work can be done excellent if one person is juggling everything in the church? This view teaches that a pastor should be "jack of all trades and master of none." It puts no emphasis on what Paul teaches and just shifts focus off the layperson and onto the minister. This view is radically UNbiblical. The Biblical approach, which is congregational-centered, teaches that YOU are the minister right where God has planted you. Now instead of one person attempting Swiss-cheese ministry, trying to fill in all the holes left by appathy, each person is using their God given unique talents and gifts. This view is radically Biblical. See Parable of the Talents, Exodus 31: 1-5, I Cor. 12...) I tell my youth all the time that they are the one's rubbing shoulders with their friends at school and at work. Reality is, no one will spend more time with those who need Christ more than you -the congregation.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

If two is better than one...then in this case three was better than two

I can remember working at ShopnSave when I was in high school. My boss, who was much much older than I, asked me and another guy to remove a garbage can that had been full of water. (It was sitting directly under a hole in the roof all night) The problem was that when we went over to accomplish the task, neither of us knew how we were going to move this huge can full of water. We tried to slide it and lift it but it would not budge without water going everywhere. As time passed the boss came over to check up on us. Without saying a word, he grabbed a cart and put it right next to the garbage can. "Lift up" He said without breaking stride. We did and he slid the cart right underneath the water filled can. "Now go dump it" He said without breaking stride. It is nice in life to have someone who is knowledgeable and is there to teach you, even when you are standing around looking at a garbage can full of water. My boss showed humility and patience with us boys. He had enough love to know that this was a "teachable moment" for us. The book of Ecclesiastes tells us that "two are better than one" (4:9a) and in the case above three was better than two. Think back to a time where you needed help and the person who offered was full of arrogance? Now think of how you view the person and that situation. Most times we remember the situation according to the kindness displayed by a person or by the harshness of their attitude. We are all a work in progress. Never lose sight that often times we are less patient than God Himself with our brothers and sisters.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

July 1st

Half of the year is over. What have you done thus far to have an eternal significance?