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Friday, February 22, 2013

The Power of Words

A powerful reminder of how we use our words...




29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.




Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Bible (official trailer) on History Channel



I believe that I will be watching this starting on March 3rd!

The Bible is an epic five-week, 10 hour television miniseries premiering March 3, 2013 on the History Channel from Emmy Award winning husband and wife team, Mark Burnett and Roma Downey. For two hours each Sunday night millions of viewers will see the Bible from Genesis to Revelation come to life in a way never before seen. The final episode of the series will air on Easter Sunday and will feature the death and resurrection of Jesus. ~Christian Film Database

HERE is a link to the Christian Film Database with some more information and a schedule of the stories covered in which episodes. 

JC



Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Story: Chapter 7 - Weird Things...


God has a way of using weird things for His advantage...

  • A giant fish that swallows up a prophet to protect him from peril
  • The sun standing still in the sky to save time for a victory for Israelite army
  • A fiery furnace to prove His protection for His people
  • A baby floating helplessly, unprotected in crocodile infested waters
  • Safe passageway on dry ground across what once was the Red Sea
This week, we read that God takes a city for his people (Jericho)... not with swords, spears and an army... but with trumpets, footsteps and a shout.  

Why?  

The Israelites, if you are following along, came up out of Egypt prepared for battle.  After their unfaithfulness to God's command to take the Promised Land, they were forced to march around in the desert for 39 years (until all the men of fighting age had died).  But they were still prepared for battle.  They still possessed swords, spears and other weapons of war.  Why wouldn't God simply send Joshua and the troops in to take the city.  

I believe: It was to show His power.  

God has a way of using odd things like the ones mentioned above, because when He does, the glory and honor for the victory can go to no one else but Him.  No one can make the sun stand still in the sky... except God.  No one could rescue three men thrown into a super-hot furnace... except God.  No one could command a giant fish to eat up a prophet and then spit him out unharmed on the shore... except God.  No one could protect Moses floating down the Nile... except God.  No one could dry up the Red Sea overnight so that His people could pass through... except.  

So there would be no doubt in the people's mind who would give them the victory in the Promised Land, God chose to use feet, trumpets and shouts to bring down the mighty walls of Jericho.  

Question is: what odd or weird thing might God use in your life to accomplish His will?  So that there will be no doubt that it was His hand at work... ?

The Apostle Paul said it this way in 1 Corinthians 1... "26 Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wiseby human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chosethe foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28 God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, 29 so that no one may boast before him. 30 It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. 31 Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord."

JC



Thursday, February 14, 2013

What is love...


16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.


Simple and straightforward...
A lot of people will tell you they love you... they will do things to prove that they love you... 

God sacrificed what was most important to Him... His one and only Son... for you!

JC


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Stepping back from the Blue Ridge Marathon...

Last August, I declared here on this blog that I was signing up to run America's Toughest Road Marathon: The Blue Ridge Marathon.  Until about 3 or 4 weeks ago, I was still planning on it...

But I've decided to take a step back from this race.

Three reasons:

  1. My son Myles was born 2 weeks ago yesterday.  Because of Myles' arrival, I've been trying to spend some extra time at home.  I spent some extra time in the hospital when Myles came.  Before that, doctor's appointments and other things slowed down my ability to train.  While I still want to run... and will be signing up for another marathon soon (probably in early June)... I want to spend some time with my son!  
  2. This winter has been difficult to train.  Extra snow this year... ice... wind... cold temperatures... have made training difficult.  Currently I do not have a treadmill, therefore it's outside or no run.  That's forced me to miss quite a few runs.  
  3. Some ministry challenges have forced me to invest additional time with our students.  A few things have come up over the past month of so that has required taking some energy from training and invest it in ministry.  
  4. I'm trying to avoid injuring myself.  Due to the shortness of time before the race (April 20th), I don't have time to adequately ramp up my mileage without hurting myself.  Since I have other goals to accomplish this year, I'm stepping away from this one.  
The Blue Ridge Marathon is a great race!  I am keeping it on my list of races I want to run and I will run it down the line.  For right now, where I'm at, I need to take a step back.  

If you aren't signed up for the Blue Ridge Marathon, there's still time!  Head over and get yourself signed up! 

JC




Monday, February 11, 2013

5 Things I Love about Running


Man!

I had a great run today!  I mean, really, really good.  Just in case you're wondering, I ran 6.1 miles in 53 minutes (check out my data on Daily Mile at the link to the left).  So I felt really, really good.

This winter has been a tough running winter.  The weather has been cold... we have had more snow that last year... plus, having a son has added some complications to this year running-wise already.

But I love running still!  Here are a couple of reasons why:

1.  I love the challenge of doing something hard.  There are a lot of things that are easy in life.  Running... especially running distance (half marathons and full marathons)... is hard.  I like feeling like I accomplished doing something hard... something that not everyone has done.

2.  I love the exercise.  I love getting out and pushing my body and feeling good.  Plus, I don't feel quite as guilty when I roll through an entire pizza for dinner... :)

3.  I love the community.  I had no idea what the running community was like until I started.  Runners are accepting... encouraging... loving... challenging... devoted... among so many other things.  I love the #runchat community and have blogged about it often.  But even running down the road, when I see another runner, there is a smile, a nod or a wave.  We're in this together!

4.  I love the "head-space."  My wife knows that if I haven't been out for a run in a while due to weather or injury, she knows that she needs to get me out there.  She will even rearrange her schedule so I can run.  She knows that I need that time out there mentally.  There is something head-clearing for me about being out there.  I grab my shoes and iPod and I'm alone in another world for a while to think, pray, plan, mentally write and other important things.

5.  I love the accomplishment.  I love crossing the finish line... doing something difficult... and finishing!  I love putting that medal around my neck, whether its a local 4-miler or the Chicago marathon, I love finishing.  I love hanging that shadowbox on my wall with my medal and pictures and knowing that I did it!

There are so many other things that I love about running... but these are just a few of them.  If you love running too, put your favorite aspect of running in the comments below.  I'm interested in what you love about running!

Keep running friends!

JC


Tuesday, February 05, 2013

The Story: Chapter 5 - Idol Worship

Last week was a difficult week, schedule-wise.  I know that technically I missed chapter 4... but I'm moving on this week with chapter 5.  Sorry.  I read chapter 4... but didn't time to blog it.  Myles threw a wrench into my week... in a great way!

++++++++++++++++++++
Last night, we threw a couple of Super Bowl parties for our students.  One for our high school kids... and one for our middle school kids.  Thankfully because Myles came a bit early, I had an opportunity to attend.

While I love football... I love the Super Bowl... I couldn't help but think of this video:



Then I sat down tonight to read chapter 5 of the Story.  See, when we read this chapter... we tend to think about folks like at the beginning of the video as idol worshippers... people with weirdly painted faces... bones sticking out of their noses... bowing down to little stone statues...

And when we see that, we think, "How ignorant is that?"

But the reality is... we do the same thing!

Oh, not with little stone statues, bones in our noses or weird headdresses.  But we do it none the less.  We sacrifice all that we have... all of our energy, enthusiasm, time and effort... for something that in the end, really doesn't matter.

Oh don't get me wrong... I have sports teams that I love to spend time with... Ohio State Buckeyes Football... Cubs' games... Da Bears...

But my point is... how quick are we to assume that we don't have idols in our hearts?  An idol is really just anything that gets the time and attention that God should receive.  Maybe a girlfriend or boyfriend... maybe a sport... maybe a club... maybe homework... All of those things are good things but all of those things can become idols.  But they are idol worship when they take the place of God.

So... while we read chapter 5 of the Story, be careful to not quickly point the finger at the Israelites who quickly slipped into idol worship, without checking our closet first!

JC

Monday, February 04, 2013

A New Youth Ministry Tradition - Offering Cell Phones



We started a new tradition at our Sunday night youth group Awake event a few months back.  We call it: Cell Phone Offering.

On Sunday nights, we basically offer a program that is church for students.  We have a couple of excellent teen worship bands.  We play games... have a message from God's Word... give out prizes and more.

While we don't take up an offering at our Sunday night crowd program... we do ask them to give an offering.  After our welcome time, we ask them to power down their cell phones, iPods or other electronic devices.  We started doing this as part of a series we were doing called "Focused" where we talked about all the distractions vying for our attention.  During that series, we thought it might be a good learning to power down our phones for the 90 minutes that we meet youth group so that we could practice focus.

The idea has stuck.

We don't force anyone to do it.  We put out these baskets, our Sunday morning adult worship service offering baskets, on each of our tables and ask our students to power down their electronics and put them in the offering basket as an offering of attention and focus to God.  Most of our students do it.  And I think, from what I hear, most of our students really like it.

It's a simple idea that has stuck.  Plus, it gives our students an opportunity to connect with God without the distraction of Instagram/Twitter/Facebook/Tumblr/texts/etc.

Just a thought.

Those of you who know me know that I love technology.  We aren't doing this as anti-technology.  We don't use cell phones officially in our service (all the Scriptures used are printed on their bulletins) so we are just eliminating the distraction.



Jim