Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Chick-fil-a Leadercast

Coming to Charter Oak Church on Friday, May 6!

Your actions mirror it. Your attitude reflects it. And it's so much more than what you say.

It is your leadership voice, and it is how you make a lasting impact.

Your leadership voice is how you inspire greatness and reinforce resolve. It can strengthen a fragile dream, or dash a sliver of hope. It alone can serve as the tipping point, reshaping one's character or redirecting another's path.

Your voice is a voice of change, and change creates new possibilities. That's why the purpose of Voices of Change is to help you demonstrate the power of change through positive leadership.

Are you ready to develop your leadership voice? Then learn more about Voices of Change and make plans now to attend the 2011 Chick-fil-A Leadercast.Your actions mirror it. Your attitude reflects it. And it's so much more than what you say.

It is your leadership voice, and it is how you make a lasting impact.

Your leadership voice is how you inspire greatness and reinforce resolve. It can strengthen a fragile dream, or dash a sliver of hope. It alone can serve as the tipping point, reshaping one's character or redirecting another's path.

Your voice is a voice of change, and change creates new possibilities. That's why the purpose of Voices of Change is to help you demonstrate the power of change through positive leadership.

Are you ready to develop your leadership voice? Then learn more about Voices of Change and make plans now to attend the 2011 Chick-fil-A Leadercast.

Join us on May 6, 2011 for the Chick-fil-A® Leadercast, and learn how to use your voice to better your community or bring hope to your workplace. The Chick-fil-A® Leadercast is the can’t-miss leadership event on May 6, 2011, broadcast LIVE from Atlanta, GA, direct to 75,000 influencers around the world. Become a voice of change as you glean wisdom from a lineup of the world’s best leaders.

NOTE: Ticket includes access into event, lunch, and the event notebook.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter 2011

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Friday, April 22, 2011

The Time In-Between

I need the time in-between. I need the time in-between Palm Sunday and Easter. I need it because I don't want cheap grace. It is all too easy to jump from weekend to weekend and miss out on the depth and breadth of the passion of Jesus.

I need to hear that on Monday Jesus went into the temple and declared, "My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations.” God's house matters to Him and it matters to me. It is a place of prayer - deep intimacy with God. It is a place where there better not even be a hint of injustice or prejudice.

I need to hear that on Tuesday Jesus did some of the most intense truth telling of His life - signs of the end of the age, the widow's offering, paying taxes, and the parables of the wedding banquet, the tenants, and the two sons. It was also the day Judas sold his soul for 30 pieces of silver.

Scripture does not describe anything Jesus did on Wednesday. I don't need to speculate. Scripture stands on it own authority. It doesn't need my help.

I need to read that on Thursday Jesus made Himself nothing and took on the very nature of a servant as described in John 13:1-17...

1It was just before the Passover Feast. Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love.

2The evening meal was being served, and the devil had already prompted Judas Iscariot, son of Simon, to betray Jesus. 3Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; 4so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. 5After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples' feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.

6He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, "Lord, are you going to wash my feet?"

7Jesus replied, "You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand."

8"No," said Peter, "you shall never wash my feet."
Jesus answered, "Unless I wash you, you have no part with me."

9"Then, Lord," Simon Peter replied, "not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!"

10Jesus answered, "A person who has had a bath needs only to wash his feet; his whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you." 11For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean.

12When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. "Do you understand what I have done for you?" he asked them. 13"You call me 'Teacher' and 'Lord,' and rightly so, for that is what I am. 14Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another's feet. 15I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. 16I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them."

By washing the disciples’ feet, Jesus enters into an intimate relationship with the disciples that mirrors the intimacy of his relationship with God. It is an intimacy that discomforts Peter, because it overturns all his conventional assumptions about the role Jesus lives. Yet it is only by accepting Jesus in the surprising role of loving host and intimate servant that one has a “share” with him, that you can receive the love of God incarnate. Jesus asks nothing of the disciples other than they place themselves completely in his hands. That they allow their relationship with him be defined by God’s love and God’s love alone.

The Last Supper – Mark 14:12-25

12On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, when it was customary to sacrifice the Passover lamb, Jesus' disciples asked him, "Where do you want us to go and make preparations for you to eat the Passover?"

13So he sent two of his disciples, telling them, "Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him. 14Say to the owner of the house he enters, 'The Teacher asks: Where is my guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?' 15He will show you a large upper room, furnished and ready. Make preparations for us there."

16The disciples left, went into the city and found things just as Jesus had told them. So they prepared the Passover.

17When evening came, Jesus arrived with the Twelve. 18While they were reclining at the table eating, he said, "I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me—one who is eating with me."

19They were saddened, and one by one they said to him, "Surely not I?"

20"It is one of the Twelve," he replied, "one who dips bread into the bowl with me. 21The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born."

22While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, "Take it; this is my body."

23Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, and they all drank from it.

24"This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many," he said to them. 25"I tell you the truth, I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it anew in the kingdom of God."

“This is my body” “This is my blood.” Jesus is not being literal, but in some holy, mysterious way Jesus is pointing to his death. The first Lord’s Supper was a remembrance of the Passover – celebrating deliverance from slavery, now we celebrate the Lord’s Supper as a deliverance from sin by Christ’s death and resurrection. Jesus invites us to join with him into a new covenant. The old covenant people went through priests and made sacrifices to gain access to God. With the new covenant offered to us through a relationship with Jesus we have immediate, personal access to God.

Garden of Gethsemane – Mark 14:32-42

32They went to a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to his disciples, "Sit here while I pray." 33He took Peter, James and John along with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled. 34"My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death," he said to them. "Stay here and keep watch."

35Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. 36"Abba, Father," he said, "everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will."

37Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. "Simon," he said to Peter, "are you asleep? Could you not keep watch for one hour? 38Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak."

39Once more he went away and prayed the same thing. 40When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. They did not know what to say to him.

41Returning the third time, he said to them, "Are you still sleeping and resting? Enough! The hour has come. Look, the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 42Rise! Let us go! Here comes my betrayer!"

Here’s what we learn in Gethsemane:

· Spiritual battles do occur

· Loneliness is felt

· Honesty is expressed

· Submission is required

· Strength is received

I need the time in-between to right myself with God, to not cheapen the grace that has been given to me. Tonight we read of the crucifixion of Jesus. Darkness. Torture. Sacrifice. Death.

What does this Holy Week mean for you? Do the last days of Jesus change you and open your eyes to all that was done on your behalf? What does Jesus mean to you?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


I was reminded today that He really is enough. Can you get your head and heart wrapped around that promise? Sometimes I can't, honestly, most days I don't.

No matter what I am going through, no matter what someone may say about me, no matter how difficult the decision, really - no matter what, He really is enough.

Here's the promise - Romans 8:28-39...
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.

31 What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written:
“For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”

37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Scriptural Way of the Cross

First Station: Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane

Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, "Sit here while I go over there and pray." He took along Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to feel sorrow and distress. Then he said to them, "My soul is sorrowful even to death. Remain here and keep watch with me." He advanced a little and fell prostrate in prayer, saying, "My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet, not as I will, but as you will." When he returned to his disciples he found them asleep. He said to Peter, "So you could not keep watch with me for one hour? Watch and pray that you may not undergo the test. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." Matthew 26:36-41

Second Station: Jesus is betrayed by Judas and arrested

While Jesus was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived, accompanied by a crowd with swords and clubs, who had come from the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders. His betrayer had arranged a signal with them, saying, "the man I shall kiss is the one; arrest him and lead him away securely." He came and immediately went over to him and said, "Rabbi." And he kissed him. At this they laid hands on him and arrested him. Mark 14: 43-46

Third Station: Jesus is Condemned by the Sanhedrin

When day came the council of elders of the people met, both chief priests and scribes, and they brought him before their Sanhedrin. They said, "If you are the Messiah, tell us," but he replied to them, "If I tell you, you will not believe, and if I question, you will not respond. But from this time on the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the power of God." They all asked, "Are you then the Son of God?" He replied to them, "You say that I am." Then they said, "What further need have we for testimony? We have heard it from his own mouth." Luke 22: 66-71

Fourth Station: Jesus is Denied by St. Peter

Now Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard. One of the maids came over to him and said, "You too were with Jesus the Galilean." But he denied it in front of everyone, saying, "I do not know what you are talking about!" As he went out to the gate, another girl saw him and said to those who were there, "This man was with Jesus the Nazorean." Again he denied it with an oath, "I do not know the man!" A little later the bystanders came over and said to Peter, "Surely you too are one of them; even your speech gives you away." At that he began to curse and to swear, "I do not know the man." And immediately a cock crowed. Then Peter remembered the word that Jesus had spoken: "Before the cock crows you will deny me three times." He went out and began to weep bitterly. Matthew 26: 69-75

Fifth Station: Jesus is Judged by Pontius Pilate

The chief priests with the elders and the scribes, that is, the whole Sanhedrin, held a council. They bound Jesus, led him away, and handed him over to Pilate. Pilate questioned him, "Are you the king of the Jews?" He said to him in reply, "You say so." The chief priests accused him of many things. Again Pilate questioned him, "Have you no answer? See how many things they accuse you of." Jesus gave him no further answer, so that Pilate was amazed.... Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released Barabbas and handed Jesus over to be crucified. Mark 15: 1-5, 15

Sixth Station: Jesus is Scourged at the Pillar and Crowned with Thorns

Then Pilate took Jesus and had him scourged. And the soldiers wove a crown out of thorns and placed it on his head, and clothed him in a purple cloak, and they came to him and said,"Hail, King of the Jews!" And they struck him repeatedly. John 19: 1-3

Seventh Station: Jesus Bears the Cross

When the chief priests and the guards saw [Jesus] they cried out, "Crucify him, crucify him!" Pilate said to them, "Take him yourselves and crucify him. I find no guilt in him." ... They cried out, "Take him away, take him away! Crucify him!" Pilate said to them, "Shall I crucify your king?" The chief priests answered, "We have no king but Caesar." Then he handed him over to them to be crucified. So they took Jesus, and carrying the cross himself he went out to what is called the Place of the Skull, in Hebrew, Golgotha. John 19: 6, 15-17

Eighth Station: Jesus is Helped by Simon the Cyrenian to Carry the Cross

They pressed into service a passer-by, Simon, a Cyrenian, who was coming in from the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to carry his cross. Mark 15: 21

Ninth Station: Jesus Meets the Women of Jerusalem

A large crowd of people followed Jesus, including many women who mourned and lamented him. Jesus turned to them and said, "Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep instead for yourselves and for your children, for indeed, the days are coming when people will say, ‘Blessed are the barren, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed.' At that time, people will say to the mountains, ‘Fall upon us!' and to the hills, ‘Cover us!' for if these things are done when the wood is green what will happen when it is dry?" Luke 23: 27-31

Tenth Station: Jesus is Crucified

When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him and the criminals there, one on his right, the other on his left. [Then Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, they know not what they do."] Luke 23: 33-34

Eleventh Station: Jesus Promises His Kingdom to the Good Thief

Now one of the criminals hanging there reviled Jesus, saying, "Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us." The other, however, rebuking him, said in reply, "Have you no fear of God, for you are subject to the same condemnation? And indeed, we have been condemned justly, for the sentence we received corresponds to our crimes, but this man has done nothing criminal." Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." He replied to him, "Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise." Luke 23: 39-43

Twelfth Station: Jesus Speaks to His Mother and the Beloved Disciple

Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, "Woman, behold, your son." Then he said to the disciple, "Behold, your mother." And from that hour the disciple took her into his home. John 19: 25-27

Thirteenth Station: Jesus Dies on the Cross

Reader: It was now about noon and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon because of an eclipse of the sun. Then the veil of the temple was torn down the middle. Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Father, into your hands I commend my spirit"; and when he had said this he breathed his last. Luke 23: 44-46

Fourteenth Station: Jesus is Placed in the Tomb

When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea named Joseph, who was himself a disciple of Jesus. He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus; then Pilate ordered it to be handed over. Taking the body, Joseph wrapped it [in] clean linen and laid it in his new tomb that he had hewn in the rock. Then he rolled a huge stone across the entrance to the tomb and departed. Matthew 27: 57-60

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Our Man in Jamaica

Hey Americans

I just did my laundry for the last time by hand. The little old Jamaican lady that helps me with it can hardly get around, but I'm convinced her arms are stronger than mine with the way she scrubs those clothes. I definitely won't ever take having a washing machine for granted again!

Since I last wrote, we built six homes for community members in need as well as planting foundations and moving rocks for future home construction. The fish farm's filters, plumbing and pump are all implemented. As soon as the tanks are filled with water, there will be shrimp and tilapia growing that the community can eat or sell to other markets. We also helped with the construction of a community center that will house changing rooms for the nearby soccer and cricket field, a general purpose room to hold wedding receptions or other community events and an office for Won by One's Jamaican pastor, Clinton. Clinton is a real asset to the community.

He is also a cultural bridge to the Jamaicans. Won by One plans to be active in Harmons for a long time, but it's better to be raising up local leaders than to stay dependent on the Americans that come down. Clinton is not only concerned about the spiritual needs of the community but also their economic ones. He recently worked with a bank in a neighboring town to set up savings accounts for all the workers. This is huge in that most of the people of Harmons have never had any sort of bank account.

Last week and this, there have been no American visitors. This has given me much freedom to be out in the community with no particular agenda. I like to walk around talking to people about whatever's on their mind and seeing if they need help with any projects. I was also able to get to the infirmary for a full day, something I've always wanted to do. When Americans come, we take them there for about an hour and a half, but there are just too many residents to visit. If these people don't get any other visitors throughout the week, that's less than 1% of their time that they get to see someone else other than the nurses that are already too overworked to talk to them. My travel to and from the infirmary was quite interesting. It took two taxis and a flatbed truck to get in and three taxis to get home. Once you ride in a Jamaican taxi, you won't ever think an American taxi driver is crazy again!

I attached a picture of my friend Mutta. It's from my first weekend here, so I'm a little tanner now, but he's about the same color. We like to listen to music, play basketball and just talk. He told me about how he got saved a few years ago but won't go to church, since he's not baptized. When I asked him why he wouldn't just get baptized, he told me he didn't have nice enough clothes. After almost two months of talk on the subject, I finally got him over the Jamaican legalism enough to get into a church yesterday morning. Being in the church isn't the most important thing, but to a young believer, it's pretty close. In the afternoon he told me he wished he could be there everyday. Pray for our relationship and his growing relationship with God.

I can't believe I only have two more weeks here. In some respects, I feel like my work here is just beginning. As far as construction goes, I've been able to be involved in the completion of many projects. As far as building relationships goes, I'm only now gaining the trust of some people and getting past small talk and into more substantial conversation. All I can hope for is a productive end of my time here and to get back soon. I have faith that there will be others coming after me that can continue the work I started.

Thanks for your continued support.