the top 10 greatest moments of my life…

I am sure the list will be revised if, as my mom used to say, I don’t “pass on over to glory” soon. But over the course of my almost 36 years so far, yesterday was one of the top 5 moments of my life. Well, I better say top 10, cause when you have 5 kids, you get a quick top 5 automatically. Regardless, one of the greatest moments came yesterday, when along with my father who baptized me 30 years ago, I was blessed to baptize my son.

The evidence of the fruit of the Spirit of Christ has been in Caleb’s life for a few years now. Like all of us with skin on, he is not nor never will be fully escaped from the hauntings of selfishness until the day that the Selfless One shows Himself as Lion rather than Lamb. The moment captured in the image below Caleb will remember for all time, possibly beyond time, as well. And I am eternally grateful to have been a part of it.

In case you were wondering what all moments in life so far have made the top 10, here’s a list in bullet form because there is not necessarily a greather-than order. As a disclaimer, the list may change by the end of the day. His mercies being new every morning and all. But for what it’s worth:

  • when my dad baptized me in March 1981.
  • when i got the letter from Union University bearing news of a full scholarship.
  • when, on a mission trip together in Memphis, TN, i overheard Jennifer Albert whispering to her dad on the phone that she thought i was the one (i don’t think she knew that i heard her).
  • when she actually sealed the deal and said “I do” on Aug 8th, 1998.
  • when we held Caleb for the 1st time on Sept 20th, 2001, along with Katey (Aug 8th, 2004), Abby (Nov 4th, 2006), and Ella (Dec 13th, 2008).
  • when we found out that the little brother that Caleb had prayed for was on his way to arrive in Oct 2010.
  • when i became an uncle, now four times over, to 4 amazing nephews.
  • when WestpointChurch.org celebrated 5 years of existence on Feb 15th, 2009.
  • when i held an actuall copy of LIVE SENT in my hands in early Sept 2009, which i had dedicated to my mom who passed just one month before. I wish she could have seen it.
  • when, along with my dad, i was able to baptize my first-born, Caleb, just yesterday.

I wonder what tomorrow will bring. We’ll see. Thankful for the God who is love, in whom we can overcome, and in whom we have ultimate celebration. Life is both abundantly beautiful and abundantly difficult in Christ. But it is abundant. And we are thankful.

love never gives up.

Along the same lines as Tuesday’s post and the teaching focus from August 15th, check out this great music video from quite possibly my favorite singer/songwriter Andrew Peterson. It is a song entitled “Dancing in the Minefields” from his newest album, Counting Stars.

While you watch it, remember that “difficult doesn’t equal bad.” It may be exactly what God wanted in order to show us love like we have never seen it. When I watch this video, I can’t help but not only think of my bride, but also my mom and dad who were just shy of their 50th when Mom died. Hope you will be challenged to never give up on love.

love endures all things.

This past Sunday morning during our teaching time, we continued the “Summer Love” series and focused on 1st Corinthians 13:7. It says:

7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. [NLT]

7 Puts up with anything, trusts God always, always looks for the best, never looks back, but keeps going to the end. [MSG]

As we unpacked this very powerful verse, we looked at 2 implications. The 1st – LOVE IS DIFFICULT. One of the major themes of Jesus’ teachings can be summed up with the word “OVERCOME.” Those who follow Jesus must “walk in a manner worthy of the Gospel” and not jump ship at the 1st sign of trouble, or the 2nd sign of trouble, or the 102nd sign of trouble. Love shows up best when the circumstances are the worst and sustains us through as the Spirit compels us from within.

The 2nd implication we examined – LOVE IS NOT SAFE. It is a lie of church culture that “the safest place to be is in the center of God’s will.” Ask Stephen. Nearly every time Jesus spoke of “love,” He spoke of death or dying. Why then, when we speak of love, do we most often refer to a feeling or personal pleasure or a circumstance that makes us happy?

The story is told of James Calvert as follows:

When James Calvert went out as a missionary to the cannibals of the Fiji Islands, the ship captain tried to turn him back, saying: “You will lose your life and the lives of those with you if you go among such savages.”

Calvert replied, “We died before we came here.”

When you tell someone you love them, you are literally telling them, “I would take a bullet for you.” And why would we be willing to love like this? Because our hope is not in staying alive, but in the fact that we have been made fully alive, now and forever, and are willing to endure life in this skin for a King who will raise us from the dead.

Here’s THE BOTTOM LINE:

The love of Jesus changes everything. With His love alive in us, we can hold up under any weight, trust through any circumstance, stay hopeful even in the midst of darkness, and keep on giving love even when giving up sounds easier. When those who follow Jesus love like this, the world notices the One who was sent to declare God’s love for us all. Lord, help us to love like You.

_____________________

Tune back in Thursday to watch an amazing music video of quite possibly my favorite singer/songwriter, Andrew Peterson, as he sings about not giving up on love.

Love y’all.

-jason

love rejoices in the truth.

This past Sunday morning, we continued in the “Summer Love” series focusing on verse 6 of 1st Corinthians 13, which says:

6 [Love] doesn’t revel when others grovel, takes pleasure in the flowering of truth. (the Message)

Two principles from Scripture were suggested:

  1. Love doesn’t hope for wrong to come to others but rather hopes for others to find “right” even when they have done wrong.
  2. Love does not flourish in the soil of untruths but blossoms in the teachings of the One who is Truth.

While focusing on the 2nd principle, a group of thoughts was thrown up on screen. Two thoughts at a time, coupled together. The first, a lie we tend to live with. The second, the truth from the teachings of Jesus. Well, Andrew Peterson has a song that recently came out that summarizes the same principle and is worth sharing here. You should download the whole album, in my opinion, but I am a BIG Peterson fan. Nonetheless, here’s the lyrics to the song “Fool with a Fancy Guitar” from Peterson’s latest album, Counting Stars.

It’s so easy to cash in these chips on my shoulder, So easy to loose this old tongue like a tiger, It’s easy to let all this bitterness smolder, Just to hide it away like a cigarette lighter

It’s easy to curse and to hurt and to hinder, It’s easy to not have the heart to remember, That I am a priest and a prince in the Kingdom of God

I’ve got voices that scream in my head like a siren, Fears that I feel in the night when I sleep, Stupid choices I made when I played in the mire, Like a kid in the mud on some dirty blind street

I’ve got sorrow to spare, I’ve got loneliness too, I’ve got blood on these hands that hold on to the truth, That I am a priest and a prince in the Kindgom of God

I swore on the Bible to not tell a lie, But I’ve lied and lied, And I crossed my heart and I hoped to die, And I’ve died and died

But if it’s true that you gathered my sin in your hand, And you cast it as far as the east from the west, If it’s true that you put on the flesh of a man, And you walked in my shoes through the shadow of death

If it’s true that you dwell in the halls of my heart, Then I’m not just a fool with a fancy guitar, No, I am a priest and a prince in the Kingdom of God

Here’s THE BOTTOM LINE:

The One who loves believes what the One who is love has said about His beloved. Then and only then do His beloved live out His unconditional, regardless-of-the-wrong-done, foundation-of-all-truth, always and forever love. May we love as we have been loved.

Come hang and worship with us Sunday morning if you can. We will focus in this text:

7 Puts up with anything, trusts God always, always looks for the best, never looks back, but keeps going to the end. (1st Corinthians 13:7, the Message)

Love you guys. Thankful to be learning love with and from you.

-jason

REGISTER NOW for the LIVE SENT conversation

Click here to REGISTER NOW for the 2010 LIVE SENT conversation!!!

:: THEME – this year’s theme is “CityChurch.”

    :: LOCATION – we will be gathering together on the campus of Southeastern University in Lakeland, FL using their chapel and 8 breakout rooms.

      :: DATES – the conversation this year will be on Friday, September 17th, and Saturday, the 18th.

        :: FACILITATORS – As always the main conversationalist is YOU. Helping to facilitate the conversation will be Alan Hirsch, his wife Deb, and various Reproducing Churches Network leaders, all participating in focused, intimate conversation about how we each can be living sent daily and leading others to do the same.

          :: COST – $25.

            :: LODGING – there are a number of great hotels to choose from not too far from the school. The one we most recommend is the Hampton Inn just off of Polk Parkway inside the Lakeside Shopping Village. We are working with them to provide a group rate for those who call and request it for “the LIVE SENT conversation” (hopefully in place by August 13th).

              :: QUESTIONS – if you have any questions, please comment below and we will get back to you ASAP.

                LOOK FORWARD TO CONVERSING WITH YOU THERE NEXT MONTH!!!

                -jason