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Monday, February 27, 2012

Prom or...?


Prom season is close.  Instead of spending hundreds (if not more) on dresses, tuxedos, limos, etc. for an evening that often ends in temptation and disappointment, why not make an eternal difference by donating that money to an organization that saves lives?

Rapha House (www.raphahouse.org) exists to help save young ladies from sex trafficking.

Active:Water (www.activewater.org) exists to bring clean water and sanitation projects to needy communities around the globe.

There are plenty of great organizations out there.  I'm sure if you took time to look you could find some great ones locally as well.  Food shelters, house building projects, special olympics...the list goes on an on.

I'm not trying to give anyone a guilt trip about attending prom, but ask yourself this, "In 10 years, will it matter that I went to prom?"

Will it be an evening that honors God?  Will you help people see the love of Christ on that night, or will you be surrounded by temptations and end up making bad decisions?  How can God use you?  How can you make the biggest impact for His Kingdom?  The answer to that last question is what will matter.

"Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.  Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others."
Philippians 2:3-4

Stay strong.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day

Every Tuesday I have the privilege of going to Piper High School and meeting with the students who run their 1st Priority Campus Ministry.  It's a student led organization that exists to spread the message of Jesus to school campuses. (http://www.firstpriority.cc)

Last Tuesday was Valentines day, so I had prepared a message that touched on God's love that I was going to share with the students.  Well, God had other plans, and as usual, they were awesome.  

It turns out that two of the high school students in the 1st Priority club had spent some time in prayer the previous week.  They prayed for God to give them an idea, a practical way that they could show and remind Piper High School that they were loved.  

The weekend before Valentine's Day, instead of going to the beach, hanging at the mall or going to parties, these two young ladies made over 100 valentines that read, "Happy Valentine's Day.  You are loved.  From your First Priority Club."  Then, on Valentine's Day, they spent every extra second they had in between classes handing out their homemade Valentine's Day cards to every faculty, staff, and teacher at Piper High, regardless of their belief.  

So instead of sharing what I had planned, last Tuesday's 1st Priority meeting was spent hearing stories from these girls and from other faculty members about what they experienced on their mission of love.  I heard story after story of how thankful teachers, custodians, coaches, and even the Principal was to receive these reminders of love.

I don't know what doors these two girls have opened, but I know I can't wait to get back to Piper High School tomorrow afternoon and hear some more incredible stories of what God is doing through the lives of teenagers who are willing to show the love of God in simple, practical ways. 

Thank you Catherine and Ashleen for putting the Kingdom of God first and showing His love to those around you.  

"This is My command, 'Love each other'."
John 15:17

Stay strong

Sunday, February 12, 2012

DWR: Do What's Right

David is an amazing dude.  In the book of 1 Samuel, we are introduced to him in chapter 16 as a boy watching sheep.  From there, he simply puts his faith in God and does what's right for the next several chapters.  That list of right includes:
  • Protecting sheep by beating down the bears and lions that tried to take them
  • Providing food for his older brothers in the military
  • Beating down a foreign warrior champion who dared trash talk his God
  • Calming a distressed and anxious king with some sweet harp-work
  • Leading military regiments to victory after victory
  • Eventually leading a group of mighty men to ridiculous amounts of victories
  • Serving a king that didn't make sense
  • Obeying his rulers...especially his God
In 1 Samuel 19, King Saul (now focused on himself instead of the God he was supposed to be serving) tries to kill David.  This goes on, even though David has done nothing but serve King Saul and bring honor to him.  David is mistreated, but he doesn't stop doing what he knows is right.

1 Samuel 24 is incredible.  Saul is now so miss focused and driven by jealousy that he has ordered his army that should be guarding the nation and battling the enemy (Philistines, Amalekites, etc.) to pursue and kill his loyal servant David.  David is literally running for his life with a loyal company of soldiers (still winning victories for the nation of Israel and King Saul) while King Saul and his army pursue him!  In 1 Samuel 24, David and his men are hiding deep in a cave, and Saul and his army pass by.  King Saul goes into the cave that David is using to hide in order to relieve himself.

Now was David's chance.  Saul was a tough warrior, but talk about being vulnerable!  David was an elite and highly skilled soldier.  This was an easy kill.  Saul had taken him for granted, mistreated him, and tried to wrongly kill him on numerous occasions.  Now was his chance for sweet revenge...for justice...time to end this stupidity once and for all!

Even David's loyal warriors were encouraging him to end this ridiculous wild goose chase.  They were tired of running...tired of hiding.  They knew who was the better leader.  They knew who was worthy of following.  They had made their decision, and now they all chimed in, encouraging their warrior leader to end this dance and take his rightful place as king.  They even offered to do this for David.

1 Samuel 24:7, "So David restrained his men and did not let them kill Saul."

David did the right thing.  Even though everyone around him was telling him to do something that made sense...even though Saul was a selfish puppet-king who had rejected God long ago...even thought he had every reason to kill Saul...David did what was right.  He honored God and showed mercy, grace, and love in the face of reason.

This week, all of us will face choices.  Some will be simple.  Some will be tough.  Will we listen to what the world says or display the love of God to those around us?  Will we simply choose to do what's right?

David had plenty of advice.  He followed his heart and obeyed God, even when it didn't make sense according to the world around him.

Choose to Do What's Right (DWR).  Honor God.  Stay strong.