Sunday, October 26, 2008

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Friday, October 17, 2008

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Lord You're So Good To Me

Last night at my home group we sang a very familiar Sovereign Grace Song, “You’re So Good to Me” As with everything else this week, this song came at the PERFECT timing (you can read more about that on my blog), in particular the chorus. Last night, through this song, I was so ministered to that I took some time this morning and broke down the different lines of the chorus and applied some Scripture verses to them. I do this with a lot of songs because it helps me apply the glorious gospel truths that are proclaimed through so many worship songs. As I sing about God and all that He has accomplished for me, may I remember that I am no longer bound to sin, but AM NOW ALLIVE IN CHRIST!!!

For You have crowned my days
I need to remember that every day I go through the Lord is at hand, He is my Shepherd and I have NOTHING to worry about!

James 1:12- “Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trail, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.”

Revelation 2:10- “Do not fear what you are about to suffer….Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.”

With overwhelming grace
Day to day when I sin and fail to recognize God’s hand upon my life His grace is there to forgive me for my failures. His mercies are new and His love NEVER fails.

2 Corinthians 12:9- “My grace is sufficient for you. For my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

Ephesians 1:6-7- “To the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace.”

Ephesians 2:4-5- “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ- by grace you have been saved.”

Titus 2:11-12- “For the grace of God has appeased, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age.”

Lord You’re so good to me
Though going through difficult times right now, I can still say that God has been so GOOD to me. My family is extremely BLESSED and His grace continues to pour out on us.

Romans 8:28- “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”

Though troubles fall like rain
Though day to day I face difficult circumstances, I need to trust God! I need to rely on His goodness and strength to get me through my days.

1 Peter 1:6- “In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials

James 1:2- “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.

This precious truth remains
The precious truth remains that Christ has redeemed me from His wrath! Day to day when I fail to recognize His goodness, He still remains faithful to me. Christ sent His Son to pay for my sins and has already ordained ALL of my days. What refreshment this brings to my soul and oh the JOY it brings!

John 3:16- “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

Psalm 25:10- “All the paths of the Lord are steadfast, love, and faithfulness, for those who keep his covenant and his testimonies.”

Lamentations 3:22-23- “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”

Lord You’re so good to me
Yes you’re so good to me!


-Candace

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Don't Waste Your Sports

What will keep us from turning sports... into something ugly rather than beautiful?

I was sent this link from my home group leader a few weeks ago, in which it immediately caught my attention because sports are an interest of mine, and have been a big part of my life growing up. I typed out my notes below but you can listen to C.J. Mahaney give the sermon at this link:


We must not allow our participation in sports or the viewing of sports to become idolatry, to become a false and functional God, to become a substitute for God, to become something we love in place of God, worship in place of God, and serve in place of God. Sports, is a gift from God, but when you add the human heart to the game itself, its all to easy for the gift to become an idol.

Principal 1

Participation in sports must be informed by the knowledge of God. We have a tendency, when considering the topic of glorifying God in sports, to proceed immediately to practical application and to prematurely consider specific ways we are called to glorify God in sports. But any practical consideration must first proceed from a theologically informed understanding of the character of God as revealed in Scripture and the person and work of Christ. We must begin our consideration of this topic, as well as of every topic, with God. Until we behold the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ we cannot accurately or authentically glorify God (2 Corinthians 4:6). Before we play sports for the glory of God we must behold the glory of God.

Principal 2

Participation in sports must be done as worship to God. Before we step onto the field or court, the Christian must realize this isn't just simply or solely a field or court but, a context for worship. Scripture is clear in that we are to worship and glorify God in all in life, which obviously includes sports. This perspective transforms the playing field into a context to worship and to glorify God, not impress others or draw attention to myself. This perspective transforms the game into an opportunity to honor God, express ones love for God, reflect the character of God, and to bring glory to God.

Practice 1

We glorify God in sports, by giving thanks to God for sports. If we fail to give thanks to God, we do not glorify God, and instead we cultivate a God ignoring, man centered, idolatress heart and attitude.

Practice 2

We glorify God in sports, by displaying Godly character in sports. We glorify God when we play sports, with humility. The humble athlete is modest when he wins and gracious in defeat.


- Nick
My Blog

Friday, September 19, 2008

Worst Poem Ever...



Down, straight down  to the dark murky depths
To avoid the eye that never sleeps

I sit and wait, watch and listen
Hoping, wishing 'please don't find me'

Stupid, dumb, obtuse, thick-witted
Didn't you read the second line?

-Kyle

Monday, September 15, 2008

Haiti



-Kyle-

The Ladder: Part IV



This ladder was like no other.

Its facade extended upwards, eventually fading from sight. All the others had a top. An end. you climbed up only to fall short and crawl back down... down.

But not this one.

Anticipation and excitement welled up within him as he realized what this ladder brought with it. Access.

It was the ladder to heaven.

Laughing and weeping uncontrollably, he placed his foot upon the first rung and began to ascend...

(Genesis 28:12, John 1: 43-51)
These verses gave me the idea for this story. I absolutely love it how the New Testament fulfills the Old!

-Kyle-

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Where Is Your Boast?

Jeremiah 9:23-24-“Thus says the Lord: ‘Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I DELIGHT, declares the Lord.’”

Recently I was reading the passage of scripture above and was convicted. There have been many occasions in my life that I haven’t boasted in the Lord with all my might, especially when talking to others. I loved Him very much so but, there have been times I let my circumstances rule more than the Lord in my life. How kind of Him to show me this! I should be so excited to tell others about what the Lord has accomplished for me, not what I have accomplished. The passage says that I am to boast in the Lord! I need to realize that more than anyone else in the world, He “understands and knows ME”, that “the Lord is a God who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the ALL the earth.” You know what else? It says that “He delights in doing this!” As John Piper says, “our call in life is to glorify God by enjoying Him FOREVER.” How foolish of me not to do this at ALL times! Christ sent His son to die for me so that I can enjoy this everlasting freedom in Him!

Jeremiah 10:6, 10-"There is NONE like You, O Lord; You are GREAT, and Your name is GREAT in might. But the Lord is the TRUE God; He is the living God and the EVERLASTING King."

There is nothing in this world that I should be boasting in besides our glorious and mighty Father who is in Heaven. The One who sent His son to die showing us His never ending steadfast love. Oh what hope this brings!

The words from the hymn below, “How Deep the Father’s Love” help to remind me of what it is that I should be boasting in:

I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection

Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom

Here are some questions that I needed to ask myself…maybe they apply to your life as well:

1. Is there a thing or situation in my life that I’m more focused on than glorifying God?

2. If someone were to look into my life right now would they see a person that boasts in the ways of the Lord? Or someone that boasts in the ways of the world?

3. If the answers to questions one and two where yes, than what am I going to do to change this?

-Candace

The Ladder: Part III

He was close enough to touch it now.  

Reaching out, he allowed his hand to lightly brush its frame.

Sturdy.

Suppressing small waves of anticipation, this time he placed his hand on a rung and let it remain there a moment.  The singing earlier had not been his imagination... he could hear it clearly now.  

Could this be it?  Had he finally found it? Or, more accurately, had it found him?

He felt a small smile creep onto his lips as he placed both hands on the ladder and peered upward.  His breath caught in his throat as his eyes adjusted to the dim light and took in what he saw...

-Kyle-

Friday, September 12, 2008

The Ladder: Part II

He stopped.

His own breathing echoed in his ears along with the memories of his past... He had spent much of his life looking for this ladder and now to find it in such an unremarkable place it seemed, well... dissapointing.

But they had told him him "come and see", and he had followed. After all, he had not waited this long to turn back now.

Once agian he began to carefully pick his way through the room drawing closer and closer to the ladder... Was that singing he heard?...

-Kyle-

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Ladder: Part I



"Thats it?"  he thought.  

The dim light in the room coupled with the dusty haze made actually seeing the ladder quite difficult.  Even breathing gave one a smothering sensation.

They had told him it was unimpressive but he had not anticipated this... Surely, something representing such greatness would be accompanied by a little grandeur should it not?

"What good can come of this?" he whispered to himself as he slowly moved deeper into the room, brushing away the dust and cobwebs all around him...

-Kyle-

Dear Mr. Obama

My mom sent this to me in an e-mail.  Check it out:


-Kyle-

Saturday, September 6, 2008

ahem...

"Zeal for truth must be balanced by love for people.  Truth without love has no decency; it's just brutality.  On the other hand, love without truth has no character; it's just hypocrisy."

- John MacArthur -

God is really using this statement to open my eyes to new areas of sin in my life... thought I would share

-Kyle-

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Don't Waste Your Humor

Last night I listened to one of C.J. Mahaney’s messages titled, “Don’t Waste Your Humor.” It benefited me greatly! You can listen to it Here.

The Main Passage of Scripture was, Proverbs 15:13-15:

“A glad heart makes a cheerful face, but by sorrow of heart the spirit is crushed. The heart of him who has understanding seeks knowledge, but the mouths of fools feed on folly. All the days of the afflicted are evil, but the cheerful of heart has a continual feast.”

Here are some notes I jotted down:

-The gift of laughter God has kindly given to us.
-When ones heart is cheerful, life becomes a feast. It is a continual celebration regardless of adverse circumstances.
-Laughter is a celebration of the goodness of God.
-If you look beneath the cheerful heart, you will find a discerning heart, a heart of humility.
-Humor protects our hearts from being weighed down with sorrow.

Point one-Humor generates joy:

Nehemiah 8:10-“Then he said to them, “Go your way. Eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to anyone who has nothing ready, for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”

-Humor is a means of transferring joy from a sorrowful heart into a glad heart.

Point Two- Humor cultivates humility:

-Laughter is a divine gift to the person that is humble. It helps us realize that we are not the center of attention.
-How often do we laugh each day?
-When we don’t find humor in someone making fun of us, we have a high view of ourselves. Humor and humility are an invaluable help during those moments.
-God uses friends to reveal pride in our lives through humor.
-Humiliations hit with little warning! We need to prepare our hearts for those moments.

Point three- Humor serves others:

-Humor is not to impress others or exult ourselves.

Ephesians 4:29- Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.

-The divine use of humor is to edify others. It is ultimately to extend grace to others.
-If we’re going to draw attention to ones deficiencies we need to notice our own.

Point four- Gospel centered humor and laughter:

Psalm 126:2-3- “Then our mouth was filled with laughter; and our tongue with shouts of joy; then they said among the nations, ‘the Lord has done great things for them.’ he has done great things for us; we are glad”

-Candace

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Weep No More

The Lord laid this scripture on my heart during worship this past Sunday. I would like to share it, in hopes that it may encourage you as it did me. Now I would ask you to read these verse slowly and ask the Lord for a vivid picture of what is being discribed in these verses.

Revelation 4

1After this I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven! And the first voice, which I had heard speaking to me like a trumpet, said, "Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this." 2At once I was in the Spirit, and behold, a throne stood in heaven, with one seated on the throne. 3And he who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian, and around the throne was a rainbow that had the appearance of an emerald. 4Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and seated on the thrones were twenty-four elders, clothed in white garments, with golden crowns on their heads. 5From the throne came flashes of lightning, and rumblings and peals of thunder, and before the throne were burning seven torches of fire, which are the seven spirits of God, 6and before the throne there was as it were a sea of glass, like crystal.
Revelation 5
1Then I saw in the right hand of him who was seated on the throne a scroll written within and on the back, sealed with seven seals. 2And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, "Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?" 3And no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or to look into it, 4and I began to weep loudly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to look into it. 5And one of the elders said to me, "Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals."
6And between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain, with seven horns and with seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. 7And he went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who was seated on the throne. 8And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. 9And they sang a new song, saying,
"Worthy are you to take the scroll
and to open its seals,
for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God
from every tribe and language and people and nation,
10and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God,
and they shall reign on the earth."
11Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, 12saying with a loud voice, "Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!" 13And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, "To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!" 14And the four living creatures said, "Amen!" and the elders fell down and worshiped.
The first verses in Chapter 4 give us a wonderful glimpse of the glory of heaven, all centered around the one who is seated on the throne. In Chapter 5 we get to partake in a puzzling yet magnificent interaction. First we witness the realization that Scrolls, which are the counsels and decree of God, the Will of God, ultimate fellowship with God, are lock up. The Apostle cannot access that which he desires most, for the his heart would be that of the psalmist: "Make me to know your ways, O LORD; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long." Inaccessible are the riches of heaven, and he cries out "Who can change this?, Who can break this curse? He can do nothing, helpless, overcome with despair he weeps.
Maybe you feel like this, aware of the graces' but feel like they are sealed up, inaccessible to you, aware of the glory all around you but joyless because of the pain and suffering that surrounds you. Well may you hear louder then the weeping the sweet sweet words of the elder. "Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals." Behold your Savior, standing before the throne, the Mediator, interceding on your behalf. The Conquering Loin standing as a Lamb who was slain. Remember this picture, a bruised and broken lamb standing alone as Worthy. We can have fellowship with the Father because the our sin has been conquered, and we will partake in all the glory of heaven, where not a tear will fall, and no pain will ever be felt as we worship the one on the throne.
-Ryan-

Monday, June 23, 2008

My Hope Is Built on Nothing Less

As Seth encouraged us to do on Sunday, I have spent most of my day looking up the words to the song, “My Hope Is Built on Nothing Less” and searching for scripture that goes along with this hymn. Doing so has been very beneficial to me. I’m so thankful to God for song writers like Edward Mote who have used their giftings in the area of songwriting to proclaim God’s truth.

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteous;
No merit of my own I claim
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
On Christ, the solid rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

When darkness veils his lovely face,I
ret on his unchanging grace;
In every high and story gale
My anchor holds within the veil.
On Christ, the solid rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

His oath, his covenant, his blood
Sustain me in the raging flood;
When all supports are washed away,
He then is all my hope and stay.
On Christ, the solid rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

When he shall come with trumpet sound,
Oh, may I then in him be found,
Clothed in his righteousness alone,
Redeemed to stand before the throne!
On Christ, the solid rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

God is our rock:

Psalm 18:1-2-“I love you, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.”

Psalm 40:2-“He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure.”

God is our hope:

Psalm 42:11-“Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.

Romans 5:3-5-“More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”

Romans 8:24-25- “For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

Romans 12:12-“Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.”

We’ve been redeemed:

Lamentations 3:58- “You have taken up my cause, O Lord; you have redeemed my life.”

By God's Grace:

2 Corinthians 12:9- “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

Ephesians 1: 7- “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace.”

Ephesians 2:4-5-“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved.”

Titus 2:11-12-“For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age.”

-Candace

Monday, June 9, 2008

Do as you Promised

This is one of the gems given at Na08, this quote that C.J. used in his message on God's Word and Our Feelings is filled with truth about the loving nature of Christ. So I would encourage you to read it and embrace the wonderful truth it proclaims....

“God’s promises were never meant to be thrown aside as waste paper. He intended that theyshould be used. Nothing pleases our Lord better than to see His promises put in circulation.He loves to see His children bring them up to Him, and say, ‘Lord, do as you promised.’ Weglorify God when we please His promises. Do you think that God will be any the poorer forgiving you the riches He has promised? Do you dream that He will be any less holy forgiving holiness to you? Do you imagine He will be any less pure for washing you from yoursins? He has said, ‘Come now, let us reason together,’ says the Lord. ‘Though your sins arered as crimson they shall be like wool.’ Faith embraces the promise of pardon. It doesn’tdelay, saying, ‘This is a precious promise, I wonder if it is true?’ but goes straight to thethrone with it, and pleads, ‘Lord, here is the promise. Do as you promised.’ Our Lord replies,‘Be it to you even as you will.’ When a Christian grasps a promise but doesn’t take it to God,then God is dishonored; but when one hastens to the throne of grace, and cries, ‘Lord, I havenothing to recommend me but this, You have said it;’ then the desire shall be granted. Ourheavenly banker delights to cash His own notes. Never let the promise rust. Draw the word ofpromise out of its scabbard, and use it with holy violence. Don’t think that God will betroubled by your importunately reminding Him of His promises. He loves to hear the loudoutcries of needy souls. It is His delight to give favors. He is more ready to hear than you areto ask. It is God’s nature to keep His promises. Therefore, go at once to the throne with, ‘Do as You promised..’” Charles Spurgeon

- ryan

Saturday, June 7, 2008

His Name(s)

Recently, as I was doing some reading I came across this passage in 1 Chronicles: "Glory in his holy name." It got me to thinking... what does that mean? How do I glory in God's name? What steps must I take to accomplish this? Clearly I was over thinking the issue, but sometimes God makes the day cloudy so when the sun comes back the sky is that much more beautiful. Before I tackled this issue of what constitutes "glorying in his name", I first felt it necessary to examine some of his names and see what they mean. And that is what I would like to share :)

Now, before we go over some of these definitions, I want to make it extremely clear that would should not limit God to the definition of one of his many names. There is a reason that God has many names and it is primarily due to the fact that he is ALL things and therefore must not be placed in a box of literary definition. Here are some of the more common ones:

1. Yahweh - Actually spelled YHWY, it means Jehovah. It is the promised name of God.

2. Jehovah - Lord.

3. Alpha and Omega - The beginning and the End

4. Immanuel - God with Us

5. I AM - God uses this name to demonstrate that He is. He was not created, he was not formed or influenced in any way. He is and he will always be.

6. Hosanna - "Save Now" or "Please Save." It is used to describe Christ as the Messiah.

7. Messiah - The Anointed One.

8. Adonai - This is the Hebrew word for "Lord". One interesting fact about this name is that it is in plural form. Adoni would be singular but it is always found in the Bible as Adonai meaning "My Lords".

As I said before, God references himself in over 300 different ways throughout scripture, but I found it extremely helpful to remind myself of the meanings of just these few here. It assisted me in thinking of God in much bigger context and in a more all-encompassing manner. Hopefully you find it as beneficial as I did.

-Kyle-

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Awesome...

When I was younger my family would always make fun of me for how fast I ate.  My dad would tell me to just strap a bag to my face and eat like a horse next time...  Needless to say, I was the unfortunate brunt of many jokes as a small child but now comes my oh so sweet redemption.  Apparently this is now becoming popular:


-Kyle-

Monday, June 2, 2008

Election 2008

After last nights primary's in Puerto Rico, it is becoming increasingly clear that Barack  Obama will face John Mccain in the general election.  Though Hillary Clinton continues to pile up victories as of late, it makes little difference.  Because of the way that delegates are apportioned in the Democratic primaries, Obama continues to edge close to his magic delegate number, solidifying his nomination.  I very strongly believe that this election will be a turning point for our country.  Though I have cautions for both candidates, it is becoming increasingly clear to me that Sen. Obama could indeed be a dangerous choice.  From abortion rights to socialism, it is apparent that a President Obama could bring devastation to our country.  However, I cannot fall into the trap of forgetting who is over all of this.  God.  It might very well be the Lord's will for Sen. Obama to win the election and that must be something that I am at peace about.  Though I pray earnestly for the victory of John Mccain, I trust that God will be faithful and never forsake his people regardless of the political state of this nation.  

-Kyle-

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Greetings From Louisville!




The conference is over and we are all very tired! God has done many great things in all our lives and we can’t wait to share them when we return to Jacksonville!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Best Prayer Ever

This is the way I will pray before every meal from now on...




-Kyle-

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Not Wasting New Attitude

As New Attitude is fast approaching, I have been attempting to prepare my heart for what the Lord has in store. It is easy for me to get caught up in the busyness of life and the conference that I can neglect being purposeful. Some of the leaders of NA have also been stressing the importance of “Not Wasting” the conference. These are a few of the thoughts I came away with after reading some of their articles.

Ways To Not Be Wasteful:

  • Identify one area that you really want to hear from the Lord in or one area that you want to experience God in. Start praying that God will work in that area. Go to the conference in faith that He will meet you.

  • Have personal alone time with God. – I can sometimes think that because I’m surrounded by fellow believers, entering into worship and hearing messages from God’s word that it negates me from needing to have my quiet times with the Lord. But from personal experience it only makes those other times sweeter and prepares my heart for what the Lord wants to do in me.

  • Take notes so you can apply the messages when you get home.

  • Plan for application. But don’t plan on applying everything at once or you will be overwhelmed. Powlison says, “Take one bit of scripture and apply it to one bit of life.”

  • Don’t stay up so late to the point where you won’t be able to concentrate on the message the next day. Unlike God…we do need sleep!

  • Talk to someone new. – I have found that I best accomplish this in my family group and try to get to know the people I am with as well as I can in our short time together. But with so many people at the conference it should be easy to meet new people.


  • Build with the people that you know. – Eric Simmons says, “Sure you want to meet new people (we hope you meet lots). But there is something special about building relationships with people from home, people that know you and know what’s going on with your work/school/family.”

These are just few thoughts on how to not waste the conference. As you pray and prepare you heart, the Lord might show you other ways. I am praying that at NA I will be purposeful in striving to do all for the glory of God. I have to remember that going to this conference is a privilege not a right. I hope that the Lord will use it to continue molding me, as well as everyone else, to be more like him.

-Lana-

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Observations of the Prophesier




















It is a well-documented fact that people have been prophesying in and outside of churches for hundreds of years now. Whether they are accurate or not in many cases remains to be seen. However, I believe the unique distinction of one who has the gift of “prophecy” or “encouragement,” must be classified. You see, there are many different types and deliveries of prophecy and I have taken the time to dissect these differences and categorize them for you into six very distinct and diverse groups:

1. The Persistent One

This prophesier is well known in the church community for their particular dedication to the prophecy mic. Sunday after Sunday, this person can be counted upon to meander down the isle, bible in one hand, notepad in the other, ready and willing to make your teeth feel the Spirit move. From scriptural exhortations, to “I see a picture of…” moments, this individual has no shortage of encouragements. In fact, they wrote the manual.

2. The Goosebumps One

A much rarer sighting, this prophesier has powers not seen in any other category. Though not experienced in every congregation, a visit to the mic by this individual will always guarantee one thing. Goosebumps like you’ve never felt before. More capable than any scary movie and more profound than the “break-an-egg-on-your-head” game, this prophesier pushes the boundaries of little bumps on your arms to a whole new level. On a scale of 1 to 10 it would be an 11.

3. The Short and Sweet One

This particular prophesier is known for their no beating-around-the-bush mentality and record-breaking speed. They have taken the saying, “less is more” to an entirely new level. Verses like “Jesus Wept” and “Praise the Lord” consist of their only vocabulary. Word of caution: don’t sneeze or you’ll miss it.

4. The Dramatic Effect One

One of the most well known of all prophesiers, the “Dramatic Effect One’s” title is indicative of their delivery. Gandalf and the movie-preview-voice guy come in a far distant second to this prophesier. Their most notable characteristics are extreme voice inflection, an ability to bring forth emotion like it’s a super power, and of course… the infamous clap line. These prophesiers are easy to spot even as they make their way to the mic. The “I’m-looking-into-the-face-of-God” composure coupled with the countenance of an angel gives them almost a glowing appearance. As they grasp the mic with two spirit filled hands, make sure both of your feet are firmly planted on the ground because your in for the ride of your life.

5. The “You’ll Get’m Next Time” One

Just when you thought that nothing could be more awkward than the time you let one rip in front of all of your mom’s friends, this newbie steps up to the plate and leaves only silence and questioning expressions in his wake. Usually these prophesiers are first-timers who thought they had all the confidence in the world until the music stops and the mic is “hot”. For the first 15 seconds of awkward silence everyone’s thinking “he must be crying”, until he opens his mouth and spews forth 10 seconds of un-intelligible gibberish. Any sane individual would realize their predicament and proceed with a duck and cover strategy at this point, but it appears that this prophesier has been blessed with the inability to perceive uncomfortable situations and pays no heed to the worship leaders desperate “cut-it” motions up on stage. As this individual makes his way back to his seat, avoiding all possible eye contact, we can only feel sorry for the job of transitioning that now faces the worship leader. This is an extremely convenient time for a bathroom break or to go get a pen.

6. The “Reject One”

This poor, poor soul knows full well the meaning of rejection because they’ve never tasted the metallic glory of the prophecy mic to their lips. There is no dignity for this individual. Though they try and hold their head high, everybody and their mother knows as soon as they get back to the pew the church bulletin has suddenly become more profound than the Bible. “Hey I didn’t know it was mike’s birthday last week…”. Most important in all of this is the “Rejector.” i.e. the “the Prophecy Mic Guy”. The Gatekeeper of Knowledge. (I am of the opinion that this individual should be required to wear a long flowing robe, grow out a white beard and have some sort of staff or scepter that he could use to “bop” bad prophesiers over the head in mid-sentence. Yea, that should do it.) His power to deliver crushing disappointment is unsurpassed. However, this individual most not let his true feelings show. When “rejecting” a prophesy, he must be sure that his face is contorted in just the right thoughtful, considerate, “maybe” expression along with a pat on the back or a textbook reply like, “I think the Spirit is transitioning to a time of reflection at the moment”.

*disclaimer: These words do not express the thoughts or beliefs of Grace Covenant Church. They are only my poor attempts to lighten the day with a little humor. I very strongly believe in the gift of prophecy and the Spirits use of it.

-Kyle-

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Walking Wounded

“We talk glibly about forgiving when we have never been injured; when we are injured we know that it is not possible, apart from God’s grace, for one human being to forgive another.” Oswald Chambers

In her book “Choosing Forgiveness” Nancy Leigh DeMoss states, “I’ve come to believe that, whether they realize it or not, unforgiveness is, in fact, a very real issue for most people. Almost everyone has someone (or ones) they haven’t forgiven. Whenever I have spoken on this subject, after defining and describing forgiveness form a biblical perspective, I have asked the audience the question: ‘ how many of you would be honest enough to admit that there is a root bitterness in you heart that there are one or more people in your life-past of present that you’ve never forgiven?’”

Colossians 3:13-“Bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.”

Mark 11:25-“And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that you Father also who is in heaven may forgive your trespasses.”


“Anything against anyone.” "That pretty much covers the bases. Doesn’t it? No offence is too great, no offender is beyond the boundary to which our forgiveness must extend. Our fellowship with God requires it and depends on it. So if we as believers persist in unforgiveness, our hearts are forced to wrestle with the fact that our actions amount to disobedience. The pathway of resentment and retaliation-God calls us to the pure, powerful, choice of forgiveness- and to pursue, wherever possible, the pathway of restoration and reconciliation. The outcome of our lives in not determined by what happens to us but by how we respond to what happens to us.”

This has begun to get me thinking. Here are a few questions that I have asked myself before and have had apply to my own life……

1. Is there a person or circumstance you have blamed for the way your life has turned out?
2. Is there someone who has wronged you that you’re still trying to make pay for there offence?
3. Can you think of a situation where you retaliated or became resentful, rather than forgiving someone who hurt you?

-Candace-

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Grace and Gratitude

Romans 11:35-" Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him?"

The anwer is nobody!!!!

There are many times when our culture thinks otherwise. We're dissapointed with our family, neighbors, work, the waitress, the sales clerk. Ultimately we are disappointed with God. He hasn't given us everything we want! I find myslef being that person way too often!

In Randy Alcorn's book "The Grace and Truth Paradox" he states:

"If only we could see our situation clearly even for a moment. We deserved expulsion; He gave us a diploma. We deserved the electric chair; He gives us a parade. Anything less than overwhelming gratitude should be unthinkable. He owes us nothing! We owe Him everything!When you realize you deserve nothing better than hell, it puts a 'bad day' in perspective, dosen't it? If I grasp that I deserve hell, I'll be filled with gratitude not only for God's huge blessings- including my redemption and home in heaven-but also for His smaller blessings: sun, rain, a beating heart, eyes that see, legs that walk, a mind that thinks. If I don't have these, I'll be overwhelmed with the knowledge that I have plenty I don't deserve. And because Christ allowed Himself to be crushed under the weight of my sin, I'll enjoy forever a clear mind and perfect body."

As I read what was stated above I was very convicted! What a great reminder of the grace that God has so richly poured out on such a wretched sinner as I. How great it is to walk out into the world and answer the question "how are you doing?" and be able to answer with great gratitude that I am doing better then I derserve!!! What a great God we serve!

-Candace-

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Stand Still

Yes, it's another Morning and Evening quote. But I think the following entry for July 24th is very applicable to many circumstances and situations. It is my personal favorite right now, and it has been a huge source of encouragement to me because it describes me almost exactly.

Exodus 14:13 Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord.

These words contain God's command to the believer when he is reduced to great straits and brought into extraordinary difficulties. He cannot retreat; he cannot go forward; he is shut up on the right hand and on the left; what is he now to do? The Master's word to him is, "Stand still." It will be well for him if at such times he listens only to his Master's word, for other and evil advisers come with their suggestions.

Despair whispers, "Lie down and die; give it all up." But God would have us put on a cheerful courage, and even in our worst times, rejoice in His love and faithfulness.

Cowardice says, "Retreat; go back to the worldling's way of action; you cannot play the Christian's part, it is too difficult. Relinquish your principles." But, however much Satan may urge this course upon you, you cannot follow it if you are a child of God. His divine fiat has bid thee go from strength to strength, and so thou shalt, and neither death nor hell shall turn thee from thy course.

What, if for a while thou art called to stand still, yet this is but to renew thy strength for some greater advance in due time. Precipitancy cries, "do something. Stir yourself; to stand still and wait, is sheer idleness." We must be doing something at once-we must do it so we think-instead of looking to the Lord, who will not only do something but will do everything.

Presumption boasts, "If the sea be before you, march into it and expect a miracle."

But Faith listens neither to Presumption, nor to Despair, nor to Cowardice, nor to Precipitancy, but it hears God say, "Stand still," and immovable as a rock it stands. "Stand still";-keep the posture of an upright man, ready for action, expecting further orders, cheerfully and patiently awaiting the directing voice; and it will not be long ere God shall say to you, as distinctly as Moses said it to the people of Israel, "Go forward."

-Amber-

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Unconditional and Lifetime Surrender

Over the last couple of weeks God has been laying the word “surrender” on my heart over and over again. About a week ago I began reading a book titled, “Surrender- the heart God controls” by Nancy Leigh DeMoss and have been very convicted by some of her points.

Recently I looked up what the word surrender meant and here are a couple things that I found:


1. To yield something to the possession or power of another
2. To give oneself up
3. To give up, abandon, or relinquish
4. To yield or resign in favor of another


“I have been before God, and have given myself, all that I am and have to God; so that I am not, in any respect, my own…. I have given myself clear away, and have not retained any things as my own.” Jonathan Edwards

The quotes below from her book have been very convicting to me. Oh how often I find myself doing the exact same thing over and over again….

“One of the challenges of complete surrender to Christ is that we don’t know what lies ahead. Doubtless, some of us might be more inclined to surrender if God would hand us a contract with all the details filled in. We’d like to know what to expect: ‘what will this cost me? What will He ask me to do?’ We want to see all the fine print so we can read it over, think about it, and then decide whether to sign our name on the dotted line.”

She goes on to say…

“That not God’s way. God says instead, ‘Here’s a blank piece of paper. I want you to sign your name on the bottom line, hand it back to Me, and let Me fill in the details. Why? Because I am God; because I have bought you; because I am trustworthy; because you know how much I love you, because you live for My glory not you own independent, self-promoting pleasure.’”

Proverbs 16:9-"The Heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps."

Father I abandon myself into Your sovereign hands; please do with me what You will. Whatever You may do, I thank You. I am ready for all, I accept all. I give up my plans and purposes, all my own desires, hopes and ambitions for my future. Thank you once again for the grace You bestow upon my life.


-Candace-

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The Final Exam

My aunt sent this to me...

At Penn State University, there were four sophomores taking chemistry and all of them had an "A" so far. These four friends were so confident that, the weekend before finals, they decided to visit some friends and have a big party. They had a great time but, after all the hearty partying, they slept all day Sunday and didn't make it back to Penn State until early Monday morning.

Rather than taking the final then, they decided that after the final they would explain to their professor why they missed it. They said that they visited friends but on the way back they had a flat tire. As a result, they missed the final. The professor agreed they could make up the final the next day. The guys were excited and relieved. They studied that night for the exam.

The next day the Professor placed them in separate rooms and gave them a test booklet. They quickly answered the first problem worth 5 points. Cool, they thought! Each one in separate rooms, thinking this was going to be easy.... then they turned the page. On the second page was written....For 95 points: Which tire? _________

-Amber-

Friday, April 11, 2008


Ephesians 4:29: "Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear."

Corrupt:
debased in character; depraved; perverted; wicked; evil
made inferior by errors or alterations, as a text.
infected; tainted.
decayed; putrid.

to destroy the integrity of; cause to be dishonest, disloyal
to lower morally; pervert
to alter (a language, text, etc.) for the worse; debase.
to mar; spoil
to infect; taint
to make putrid or putrescent

I think after reading the above description of what the word corrupt means, no one would want to be responsible for letting “corrupt” speech come out of them, but sadly we are all guilty of it. I have recently been thinking about “speech” and have been reminded of the importance of words. I know that I can far too often be unconcerned with the words that are coming out of my mouth and guilty of letting corrupt words come out of me. We supposedly use an average of 25,000 words a day. How many of those am I using to glorify God and edify others?

Paul Tripp wrote in his book War of Words: "When we speak, it must be with the realization that God has given our words significance. He has ordained for them to be important...God has given words value. So we must do all we can to assign words the importance Scripture gives them."

Corrupt talk includes all words or communication that deters growth in godliness and hinders the cultivation of godly relationships. It defiles others. It has a decaying, rotting effect on a person's soul.-CJ Mahaney

This verse in Ephesians doesn’t just stop with the instruction to not let corrupt talk come out of our mouths, we are to replace that with something…speech that is good for building up.

1 Timothy 4:12 - Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.

What amazing power and potential there is in our speech! When we are purposeful and intentional to use edifying and appropriate words, this is the result: God promises that our words will impart grace to those who hear. Every conversation we have with another person carries this marvelous potential of passing on the grace of God. And we are a people in need of God's grace, are we not? – Janelle Bradshaw
I am praying for God’s help in letting my words, whether many or few, be glorifying to the One who has enabled me to speak and to be a means of grace to all who know me and even those who don’t. When others love and encourage me, may I do the same to them. When others hurt and sin against me, may I seek to build them up and encourage them. When others are lost and need a kind word, may I speak the gospel truth, which is the kindest thing I could ever do for them. May I strive to use all 25,000 of my words as a beautiful building tool and not an instrument of destruction.
-Lana-

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

The Bald Worship Leader

Prodigal John reports:

After I wrote the post about the "mandatory youth minister goatee" I was flooded with emails about another phenomenon sweeping the nation, the "bald worship leader."

Never one to deny attention to things that are sweeping the nation, I thought I would address it. I'm not bald and I'm not a worship leader either but if I ever lose my hair and a church has a need for a triangle-playing worship leader (only instrument I've got in the bag), here are three rules I am going to live by:

1. Refuse the temptation to be weird hat guy.
When you go bald I think there's a deep urge to really explore all the wonders that the hat world has to offer. But when I see the currently cool Fidel Castro type hat on stage I don't think, "here I am to worship." I think, "here I am to overthrow a capitalist society." From cowboy hats to bandanas and top hats, I think you have to be very careful when it comes to how you clothe your head. (Bret Michaels, we know you are bald. Stop it.)

2. Manage the sweat situation.
If I go bald, I am going to develop the most incredible ninja-like ability to keep my head sweat free. I'll still be rocking out on my triangle, have no fear, but never will you find yourself hypnotized by betting on which bead of sweat will make it down my dome first.

3. Develop an awesome worship leader face.
Someone brought to my attention that in addition to musical skill, a worship leader must possess a face that helps set the tone. It must look engaged but not distant, focused but not unavailable, happy but also a little melodramatic. It's hard to describe, but close your eyes, form a half smile, and imagine you've just taken a bite of your favorite food and happen to be holding an acoustic guitar.

I am sure there are other rules when it comes to being an awesome bald worship leader, but those are mine. Please note: I know there are a lot of amazing female worship leaders. Some of my favorite worship leaders are women. The church that I attend has a bunch, but thus far none of the ones I know have goatees or are bald. So until I think of something funny or someone sends me something about a quirk of female worship leaders, I am sparing them the ridiculousness of posts like this.


-Kyle-

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Thoughts from Sinclair Ferguson...


Recently, C.J Mahaney has been posting an interview he conducted with the famous Irish author and preacher, Sinclair Ferguson.  You can read the interview here.  There were many answers that Mr. Ferguson had to C.J's questions that were convicting, but one thing he said really resonated with me.


"There are times when I bump into somebody unexpectedly that I will say, “This is a happy providence.” And then I will stop and think, “Would it have been an unhappy providence if I hadn’t bumped into you?” We have this tendency—especially if you are inclined to this legalism—to measure how God’s love is doing for you these days by the providences that surround your life. Our ability to read providences are a very inaccurate measure of God’s love for us."

This is so applicable to me because I do it so darn often.  It is a form of legalism that I think goes unnoticed and unchecked by many Christians today and serves only to limit the providence of God.  We as sinners cannot determine what is good for us and what is not.  We do not set the boundaries or limitations as to what is done for our benefit, only God does.  Essentially, everything that happens to us is under the sovereignty of God and is therefore for our good.  

It is errant and arrogant for me to say that because I received an 'A' on an exam that God is good or that the 'A' is definitively good.  God is always good.  However, the real test is what I would be thinking if I received an 'F'.  Would I consider that circumstance as 'bad' now?  In my heart is God still good or am I quietly seething about the outcome?

What I am trying to say is that what we think to be a bad thing is almost always a good thing in the end.  Think through some of the events that have happened to you this week that you have deemed to be unsavory.  Was it necessarily a bad providence?  Many times I have to stop and ask God that he would comfort with the truth of Romans 8:28.

These are questions that I think we would all do well to ask ourselves in those situations.  I pray that God would shed the light of his truth upon us and that we would surrender to that.  Romans 8:28 "And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good." 

-Kyle-

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Holding Hands... In Church

I found this on a blog that lists things that Christians do or don't do, like or dislike.  This was #108.  I thought it was hilarious 

"Every now and then, a minister will feel inspired to have everyone in the crowd hold hands. Which of course is awesome. But all too often, I find that Christians violate the three simple rules of hand holding. So as a service to the greater Christian population, I'm like the Billy Graham of sarcasm, I thought I would quickly review the three things you should never do when holding hands with strangers:


1. Interlink your fingers
This is way, way, way too intimate to do if you don't know me and happened to be married to me. But some people do it. Instead of doing the "hey pal I know we're holding hands which is weird but oh well" palm in palm grip, they weave their sweaty fingers between yours. As soon as someone does that to me, the 13-year old in me automatically thinks, "this person is trying to make out with me." Don't do this ever.

2. The "you're great squeeze"
For some reason lots of Christians feel the need to punctuate a good hand hold with a tiny gesture. They want closure. But please, avoid the temptation to end the hand holding session with a "Jesus loves you" squeeze. It's nowhere near as intimate as interlinking, but it still feels a little creepy coming from a man in his mid-50s that up to 30 seconds ago I had never seen in my entire life.

3. The linger
When it becomes clear that the hand holding is over, I expect you to let go of my hand like a bank robber fleeing the scene of the crime. Seriously, let's not be the last people pressed together with our hands awkwardly connected. Think of letting go as a race. I want us to win. I want you and I to set new land speed record in letting go. Come on, we can do it. Eye of the tiger. Eye of the freaking tiger.

-Kyle-


Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Putting Down My Umbrella...

Sometimes I feel as though I like to stay in the shade of my umbrella, even when it's sunny out. I don't mean this literally, but in my life I have seen a tendency to hold on to the negative rather than taking joy in the good. I was reminded this morning that though I am the worst of sinners, that should not always be my primary focus. My primary focus should be that, though I am the chief of sinners, yet Christ died for me and declares me justified. Just as if I've never sinned. My attention should be on God’s new mercies every day to me not on my past failures. Always dwelling on my sinfulness is primarily ME focused. Instead I should be lifting my eyes to where my help comes from. My help comes from the Lord. (Psalm 121:1-2) I’m not saying that considering our sin is never appropriate, because it is. All I’m saying is in my own life, I’ve realized that I can focus more on that than on what Christ has accomplished. God is honored and glorified when we praise His name and all He’s done for us. Here’s an excerpt on the subject from Spurgeon…

The Lord hath done great things for us, whereof we are glad.-Psalm 126:3
Some Christians are sadly prone to look on the dark side of everything, and to dwell more upon what they have gone through than upon what God has done for them. Ask for their impression of the Christian life, and they will describe their continual conflicts, their deep afflictions, their sad adversities, and the sinfulness of their hearts, yet with scarcely any allusion to the mercy and help which God has vouchsafed them. But a Christian whose soul is in a healthy state, will come forward joyously, and say, I will speak, not about myself, but to the honour of my God. He hath brought me up out of an horrible pit, and out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings: and he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God. The Lord hath done great things for me, whereof I am glad. Such an abstract of experience as this is the very best that any child of God can present. It is true that we endure trials, but it is just as true that we are delivered out of them. It is true that we have our corruptions, and mournfully do we know this, but it is quite as true that we have an all-sufficient Saviour, who overcomes these corruptions, and delivers us from their dominion. In looking back, it would be wrong to deny that we have been in the Slough of Despond, and have crept along the Valley of Humiliation, but it would be equally wicked to forget that we have been through them safely and profitably; we have not remained in them, thanks to our Almighty Helper and Leader, who has brought us out into a wealthy place. The deeper our troubles, the louder our thanks to God, who has led us through all, and preserved us until now. Our griefs cannot mar the melody of our praise, we reckon them to be the bass part of our life's song, He hath done great things for us, whereof we are glad.-C.H. Spurgeon

Pondering all the Lord has done in our lives will produce a heart of gratefulness in all of us. “Every day” we receive new mercies, so wouldn’t it only make sense to praise those mercies “every day”? My prayer and hope for myself as well as everyone, is that we will be a people who love to declare the goodness and mercy of the Lord. Being joyful because of what God has done is a very small thing considering what we’ve been given and it’s also a wonderful testimony to a watching world.

Mercies Anew
Every morning that breaks
There are mercies anew
Every breath that I take
Is Your faithfulness proved
And at the end of each day
When my labors are through
I will sing of Your mercies anew

When I've fallen and strayed
There were mercies anew
For you sought me in love
And my heart you pursued
In the face of my sin
Lord, You never withdrew
So I sing of Your mercies anew

And when the storms swirl and rage
There are mercies anew
In affliction and pain
You will carry me through
And at the end of my days
When Your throne fills my view
I will sing of Your mercies anew

-Lana-

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Happy Easter

Without doubt, easter is not about bunnies, or eggs, or eggs and bunnies. It is about the life death and resurrection of Christ Jesus our Saviour. This is a great video depicting just that...



-Kyle-

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

I walked on the Moon!...




This clip is pretty funny, and how true it is. I can relate all to well, I sometimes wish amazing or just interesting things would happen to me, all for the fact that I would then be able to draw attention to myself. I would have that story that no matter how many times I told it I would leave the listeners in Shock and Awe. But then I starting thinking about it and I realized I already have that Amazing Story. A story about a sinner who was rebellious, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending my life in malice and envy, hated, hating others. But then a Loving Savior irresistibly drew me to himself and pour out immeasurable riches on my life. Now that sinner has been wash by the Blood of the Lamb, renewed by the Holy Spirit, and transformed by the grace of God.

The only thing more amazing then telling people "I walked on the moon", is telling them "Jesus Died For My Sins"

- Ryan

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Piper on Children in Sunday School

‘Something seems wrong when parents want to take their children in the formative years and put them with other children and other adults to form their attitude and behavior in worship. Parents should be jealous to model for their children the tremendous value they put on reverence in the presence of Almighty God. . .

‘Children can be taught in the first five years of life to obey their father and mother when they say, “Sit still and be quiet.” Parents’ helplessness to control their children should not be solved by alternative services but by a renewal of discipline in the home. . .

‘We do not believe that children who have been in children’s church for several years between the ages of 6 and 12 will be more inclined or better trained to enjoy worship than if they had spent those years at the side of their parents. In fact, the opposite is probably the case. . .

‘It will probably be harder to acclimate a 10– or 12-year-old to a new worship service than a 5– or 6-year-old. The cement is much less wet, and vast possibilities of shaping the impulses of the heart are gone. . .

‘By the time they are four years old, our children assume that they’ll be at all the regular weekly services with us.’

(HT: Denny Burk)

-Kyle-

Monday, March 10, 2008

Breathtaking

Happy St. Patricks's Day!

Kyle | Kevin | Jon | Nathan | Ryan

(Landon's birthday present to Jon)

Thursday, March 6, 2008

New Words

I have learned two new words this week that I thought to share with you.

Impenitent - "Not feeling regret about one's sin or sins"

This was our state before God softened our hearts and led us to repentance: Romans 2:5 "But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when god's righteous judgement will be revealed."

What concerns me is that there are many times when I allow my heart to grow "hard and impenitent" in regards to my sin. This is directly contrary to what state I should be in, in light of the gospel. God has freed me from hardness of heart and has imparted upon me sufficient grace to repent and be sanctified.

Pawky - "cunning; sly."

Thought this word may not have as much biblical implication as impenitent, it still does apply to my deviations from Gods Word.  Countless times I have rendered to the thinking that my sin goes unnoticed by God or that He doesn't really care about the state of His elect.  In my pawkiest of moments (just pretend thats really a word), I even try and outwit the Word of God or explain it away in a desperate attempt to justify my sinful lifestyle.
Romans 1:22 "Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling man and birds and animals and reptiles"

The truth of the matter, is that we only think we are pawky.  In fact, we are stupid.  Only fools who lay claim to the title of wise.
May God grant us the grace to soften or impenitent hearts, and eliminate our pawky thinking in regards to our sin.

-Kyle- 

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

The Prosperity Gospel

Some of you may have seen this video before, but it is so good that I had to put it up. Piper at his best...



-Kyle-

Friday, February 29, 2008

A Season of Life

Lamentations 3:31-33
"For the Lord will not cast off forever, but, though he cause grief, he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love; for he does not willingly afflict or grieve the children of men".
This particular scripture verse has been a means of grace in my life over the past 7 months.

August- I began a new job, moved in with two wonderful roommates, my last two classes begin at UNF, and I ended a wonderful 2 1/2 month "relationship" with a good friend.

September- Jacksonville experienced 4 days of straight rain and our apartment roof caves through (in my roommates room), I move into the Holiday Inn on Baymeadows Rd. Oh and on accident I leave my textbook inside my apartment and can't get it out for 3 weeks due to "liability" reasons.

October- We were relocated from the Holiday Inn into a company stay type suite on the apartment complex premiss, finally allowed to get our stuff from our apartment, I ran a 5K and experienced 3 weeks of consistent swelling in my ankle that wouldn't subside.

November- Went to an urgent care center and XRays came out fine on my ankle and after a month the swelling went down, experienced 3 weeks of sickness (cold, cough) due to lack of sleep and pulling all nighters to finish out my two classes to graduate.

December- Continuation of all nighters at Florida Coastal Law School (they don't have to deal with parking decals!!) with my roommate Sarah, ended up failing a class and couldn't graduate and I began experiencing inflammation in my knee over Christmas.

January- Begin doctors appointments (XRays, blood work, MRI) to determine inflammation in my knee, tests prove that the pain I was experiencing was due to a fluid build-up, informed that we could finally move back into our place the beginning of February and began my class Research Methods of Psychology over again with a much better teacher.

February- After seeing an orthopedic he insisted that we drain my knee and he proceeded to send the fluid away to be tested. Results a week later showed, Gout in my knee. Gout is a disease in the knee that forms from a buildup of uric acid. It is unheard of that someone of my age has this. 90% of people who get Gout are men and women who usually have it are over 50+. My doctor said she has never heard of this type of case before and neither had my orthopedic. We FINALLY moved back into our place after being displaced for 4 months and I lost my job the day before I turned 24.

What do I say to all of this chaos? I hope that no one ever has to go through what I went through these 7 months. Is this is a season of suffering and trials the Lord brought me through? A season of sacrifice? or Trust? I don't know. I'm still trying to figure it out. Maybe I won't ever figure it out or maybe its not meant to be understood. These experiences have been so very hard. I've told myself over the years, "your a good student, you don't fail, your successful, your an above average student" and then too fail a class and not even graduate. To communicate to my parents and siblings that I failed was one of the hardest things to do. Studying for a test in a hotel room is impossible (don't try it). Eating out for a month is disgusting. Being sick during finals, pulling all nighters for exams and working a F/T job is practically impossible. I don't even know how I got up every morning to face the day. Running was my favorite past time. I haven't run since October and its been quite a struggle for me. Now I don't even know when my next run will be. Being with someone for 2 1/2 months last summer taught me a lot about myself and I wouldn't trade that season for anything. It was a short summer season that God somehow planned but He also planned for it to end in the most settling way. Finally realizing I have a type of disease that is completely unheard of for someone my age has been hard to understand.

The Lord has caused grief and affliction to come and go these past 7 months but their has been an unceasing amount of peace and joy in my heart. I have cried much and but I know I have smiled and laughed much more. Lamentations reminds me that "He will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love". I know that He is holding me and caring for me. Have I sought God in the midst of this insane turmoil? I wish I could say, yes but I have not. I believe now I am finally getting the big picture. God wants my attention. I can finally say, now He has it completely. Sometimes God has to cause grief and affliction and to bring us to our knees and He has done that with me. Although He cast me off for a little while, He has brought me back to Himself. This is just another season of life. Is it closed? or is it still open? I don't know, only He does. For "He is in the heavens and He does all He pleases".

There are many questions that I am faced with right now. Where will I work? Where will I live when August comes around and my lease is up? When can I run again?! What will summer hold for me? Graduate school? Teaching in Europe? but I am not living my life worried about these, I am living my day for today and looking forward to tomorrow.

- Sarah

Thursday, February 28, 2008

I Need This T-shirt


-Kyle-

God's Promises: What I'm Learning

I have been reminded of a few things about God's promises since my previous post. What about those times when it doesn't seem like God is being faithful to do what He said he would? Well, I've learned that:

1) God always keeps His promises, but He keeps them in His timing, not mine.

Meaning...I might have to wait!

Scriptural Example: Psalm 69:13: "But as for me, my prayer is to you, O LORD. At an acceptable time, O God, in the abundance of your steadfast love answer me in your saving faithfulness."

2) God always keeps His promises, but He keeps them in the way He sees fit (that is, the way that best suits His glory and my good).

Meaning...He might answer in a way that is contrary to my immediate desires!

Example: God promises grace. If I ask God for grace to teach me patience, He won't always teach me in the way I desire (the easy way!). My path to patience will likely be uncomfortable, hard work, like most sanctification.

3) God always keeps His promises, but His promises are often conditional.

Meaning...His blessings often require my obedience first!

Scriptural Examples: Philippians 4: 6,7: "[condition] do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. [promise] And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

I Peter 5:6: "[condition] Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, [promise] so that at the proper time he may exalt you."

Though my experience may seem to "argue" or disagree with Scripture when I can't see God's provision, the truth is that God always keeps His promises. He might not do it when or how I think best, but He, whose thoughts are higher than my thoughts, will be faithful to his Word in His own time and in His own way.

-Amber-

Monday, February 25, 2008

Part III: The Crossing

Daniel delicately placed his right foot upon the wooden planks that formed the walkway of the bridge.  It was steady.  Unlike the wide path that lead to the village, the bridge was small and narrow, but just wide enough to let Daniel comfortably cross.

As he took his 2nd and 3rd steps it appeared to Daniel that Bridge was constructed to exactly his dimensions.  Almost as if it was built specifically for him.

After a few more unsteady steps, Daniel paused to take a few deep calming breaths and glance back at the ridge where he had stood but a moment ago.   A thick fog shrouded the other side now, or had it been there before?  Either Daniel could not recall or it had always been there and he had not noticed.

Mentally shaking himself, Daniel once more concentrated on the task at hand. 

He was halfway across now and as he gazed ahead he saw the Bridge Builder waiting patiently for him at the other side.  With a confidence that seemed to come from outside himself, Daniel began to quicken his pace.

15 more steps.  10 more.

'I'm almost there' he thought to himself as tears slid silently down his cheeks.  They were the last tears he would ever shed...

-Kyle-

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Part II: "The Bridge Builder"

He was more seasoned in life now.  Almost jaded.  Daniel's body was beginning to waste away and he knew it.  Sunken eyes, wrinkled skin, exposed joints, all signs of the life he had lived.  That all of mankind lives.

The chasm had seemed to grow over the years along with his age.  Hopelessness engulfed him and despair was his best friend; it had been that way all his life and Daniel saw no reason to change that now.

Throughout time, the chasm had always been there.  Daniel did not know why he was drawn to it, only that he was.  Something was different this time however.  Across the way, a man (or what seemed to be a man from this distance) appeared to be attempting the unthinkable, the impossible.  'Was the man...?'  

He was.

Slowly but surely He was constructing a bridge to Daniel's side.  He was crossing the gap.

As Daniel observed the man he settled down into the dry and bitter grass to watch Him continue His work...

-Kyle-