No Other

•August 20, 2009 • 1 Comment

It was great to see a lot a familiar faces that I’ve missed and a few new ones that I hope to get to know last night at SetApart Worship.

We kicked off our new series “No Other” last night and I’m very excited excited for the next few weeks.

No Other Logo updated4

“No Other” is a series  that looks at and breaks down twelve different religions or belief systems. So many times we know nothing about what other people believe in this world. “No Other” is a series that explores Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Scientology, Atheism, Mormonism, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Hinduism, Catholicism, Humanism, and Christian Science.

We will break down the history of each belief system. We will learn where they started and what they believe. Often times as Christians we don’t know how to talk to people of other beliefs. During this series we will evaluate and review how each system of belief views, God, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, and the Bible.

I hope you will join us these next few weeks as we explore “No Other.” My hope is you will understand a little more of what you believe and why and also what influences and motivates other people.

We started off talking about Christianity last night. I won’t go back over everything but here’s a video that gives a great summary of our God, His son Jesus Christ and just what lengths He has and will go through for us.

Such an amazing video. I hope it gives you encouragement today.

God has great things planned and I can’t wait to see what He does.

I hope to see you all there!

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Can you lasso a fish?

•March 5, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Last night we started our new max series, Free At Last! We will be focusing on the freedom that we can have in and through Jesus Christ. We began a series with in that called “No More Rules.”

Last night we were given the picture of God’s creation. God’s love for us.  And how sick we all are of rules. Are you tired of rules? Think of that one rule you wish you didn’t have. How great would it be if you no longer had that in your life?

God isn’t about rules. He created all life and maintained the peace with one rule. Adam and Eve messed up and know we have hundreds of rules in our world. We think maybe God is just a rule guy. Maybe that’s all he cares about. Maybe rules are it. God gave us that world. The Old Testament is proof of it. The Old Testament called it Laws. Laws governed everyone’s lives.

Speaking of laws and rules. Every state has insane laws that are still in writing. Here are a few laws that are still active and a few that are inactive in the state of Tennessee.

Weird Tennessee State Laws

You can’t shoot any game other than whales from a moving automobile.

Hollow logs may not be sold.

More than 8 women may not live in the same house because that would constitute a brothel.

It is illegal to use a lasso to catch a fish.

“Crimes against nature” are prohibited.

Ministers are to be dedicated to God and therefore are not eligible to hold a seat in either House of the Legislature.

Any person who participates in a duel may not hold any public office in the state.

Stealing a horse is punishable by hanging.

Driving is not to be done while asleep.

It is legal to gather and consume roadkill.

The definition of “dumb animal” includes every living creature. Interracial marriages are illegal.

Tattooing a minor is a misdemeanor.

It is illegal to dare a child to purchase a beer.

It is illegal to place tacks on a highway.

Here’s the fun fact: People still mess up. People still weren’t united in that personal relationship that God created in the Garden of Eden. God sent us Jesus to fulfill the laws that he created because we couldn’t. Jesus focused all the laws back into two rules. Love God and love everyone else. We won’t get the full affect of this until we get to Heaven. On earth we have to suffer through laws and rules. Don’t make the mistake to think that God is about what you “can’t do.”

You will find complete freedom in your life when you have a close personal relationship with Jesus Christ. You will see that God isn’t about what you aren’t allowed to do. God is about giving you the strength to move mountains. All you have to do, is trust that he will.

Where have we been?

•February 20, 2009 • Leave a Comment

In one more week our 7-Week series on Sex will be over. We’ve dealt with a lot of serious-personal issues. Next week will be a week that you will not want to miss as we close out this series. Make a point to be here, you will be impacted.

We’ve been exposed to the saturation of sexuality in all of our lives. You see it at school, on TV, the movies, you hear it in music, and in most of your classes. Sex is everywhere. Unfortunately this is the world you’ve grown up in.You didn’t create this issue of sex being everywhere, but do you think it can change?

Sex is seen as a meaninglessness act. It no longer holds the banner of being set apart. You hear it in the hallways and classrooms. You see it at parties. Show’s like “Secret Life” have Amy wanting to give her baby away because she wants to “keep Ben.” Now, were you shocked by this story? Did it bother you? Or were you just rooting for Amy and Ben to stay together? Is sex meaningless?

Sex does not equal Intimacy. If you want to have an undeniable closeness with someone, sex will not give it to you. Sex will give you the illusion that you have it…but you won’t. This is a theme that Hollywood mostly agrees with. You see your favorite character struggle with wanting to keep her relationship with a guy. She has sex with him…but it doesn’t last. You see it even more with your friends at school and in your own lives. You think giving oral sex, grabbing on as much skin as you can, and sexual intercourse shows love and commitment? It unfortunately shows no respect and gives you more emptiness to fill you up. I’m still waiting to see that episode.

We all desire something, or should I say “somethings.” You want. I want. It’s natural. But what do you want more than anything else. For a teenage guy, it could be pornography, a heavy make out session, or sex. For a girl it could be tight-low cut shirts, skimpy shorts, dirty talk, or being a tool for guys…i think that’s called “sexy” now…I really don’t know why. Do the desires you fulfill make you feel alone, even when you’re with someone else? Is your appetite healthy?

“How far is too far?” Oh, this question has been asked by everyone who reads this and everyone else who isn’t reading this. Limits. Borders. We will fight and argue with someone who tries to take away something important to us because we want our space. We have our limits. Would you drive your brand new, fully stocked dream car to the edge of a cliff? Of course not. It’s yours. It’s precious to you. It’s the only car you have, right? But wouldn’t you be curious to see how far to the edge you could drive without falling? That’s probably the dumbest question I have ever asked…crazy.

Are you responsible? You’re asked that. I’m asked that. I think we all want to be. More responsibility usually means more freedom. You have a say. You can change directions if you want. Actually, being responsible means your choices now affect more than just you. That freedom to do what you want?…yeah…not so much now. Other people now depend on you. Here’s a big secret: Your friends care more about what you do, than what you believe. Don’t you think you should too?

This is where we’ve been. Next week we will see where you can go from here. Don’t miss it.

No Limits, praise God!

•February 12, 2009 • 1 Comment

Wow. Is that what being honest with God is like?

Last night, you were challenged to identify what pulled you from God, then identify (or celebrate) what brought you toward God. What did you say?

We still have those sheets hanging up in the SetApart room. Will they be taken down? Honestly…no, not right now. You will have an opportunity every week to confess to God, in written form, what you struggle with and what He saves you from in your everyday life. Worship is expressing your love for God. It doesn’t matter if you sing it or write it.

This weeks blog is short, because I want to hear from you. What if this blog was a white sheet draped over a board? What if your keyboard was nothing more than a marker that you picked up off the floor? Would you write out how great God is? Would you stay in your chair or on your bed until you typed out how much you loved Him?

The rest of the blog is up to you, students. What is it about our limitless God, that pulls you toward Him?

God I want to desire you more than…

•February 5, 2009 • 2 Comments

After last night, what are you thinking?

Honestly, is today any different than yesterday?

Watching and participating last night, is there any change. We heard statements made by students and adults. Someone wanted to stop worrying about everything and let God handle it. Someone wanted to spend more time reading His word. Someone wanted to share Christ with their co-workers. Someone wanted to be an example. Someone wanted to be finished with their struggle and let God have it. There were countless more.

What do we do now? Well, first we don’t forget (which is something we always tend to do). We say we are busy. We say we have too much to do. We say a lot of things, but one thing we don’t say, is that we do not have to forget. We all can choose to remember last night, just like we can choose to spend time with God. We are bound by our relationship with Jesus Christ to look out for each other.

If one of your friends were walking and fell into a pit, would you choose to pull them out? Yes, of course you would. But is that really heroic? In reality we are around each other so much, that we usually see our friends before they fall. Many times, unfortunately, we watch them fall. Is it so absurd to reach out to our friends before they get hurt? Before they tear apart their lives? The argument is, “They won’t listen to me.” But how do you know? The sad thing is, we only “know” that because it’s what we think…we stopped trying to help weeks ago.

Will you choose to desire Jesus Christ more than anything else? Will you choose to look out for the people you care for? There are exciting days ahead, and going through them alone was never part of the plan.

If you place God above everything else, you will be that friend. You will be that example. You will have that life that is worth more than gold, because God’s desires will be yours.

Now that, is something I desire.

What’s it matter?

•February 3, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Relevance…

That’s something that we all want, right. Relevant is defined as: “bearing upon or connected with the matter in hand.” We all want to be connected. We want to be relevant to at least someone. Maybe a boyfriend or girlfriend. Perhaps your parents or a teacher. It could be that you want to matter to your friends or even your dog. I guess that’s the ticket right…”we want to matter.”

Now that’s on a singular level, but people groups and organizations are no different. Businesses and Clubs chase after relevance because it means a connection and involvement. The Church is no different, nor is the Christian Community. The Church has the benefit of holding on to the truth and timeless connection and life of Jesus Christ. That alone commands a lasting relationship and presents the strongest and most lasting form of relevance in the entire world. But outside of the worship services, do we as Christians, think we must disguise who Christ is…to Photoshop and airbrush Him up to appear like the rest of the world?

I suppose (well, I know actually) this is coming from my aggravation with the Christian world and the constant spot on mimicry of popular culture. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not getting mad at Pepsi for copying Coke, nor am I frustrated with a dozen more vampire books on the best seller list because of the popularity of Twilight. I am frustrated with the Christian World for seeing a chance to “purify” something that the world created, trying to cash it on its success, and thinking it will be relevant.

This shows its face mainly through Christian Media, particularly the film genre. Is it too much to ask for a drop of originality? The Christian media has proven its worth through film’s such as “Facing the Giants” and “FireProof.” They successfully presented the Gospel in reality through fresh and creative ways. Last summer a movie came out called “Sunday School Musical.” Yes…you already know where I am going with this don’t you?

Here’s a link to the trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=prPXjVVRi5I

Now, if you want to make a movie about a School Choir that wants to save their Youth Center, that’s great! But if you want to make a movie about a School Choir that wants to save their Youth Center and try to blatently milk the popularity of Pop Culture at the same time…then I must lower my head and slowly exhale, “why?”

Does this make you relevant? Does this make you connected? Unfortunately it often has the complete opposite affect. As Christians we must be prepared and ready to be mocked and ridiculed for our imitation of Jesus Christ, but why do we act confused when we are mocked and ridiculed for our imitation of the world?

 

high_school_musical3               sunday-school-musical1

But on the bright side, I finally get to watch someone C-Walk to “Just as I am.”

What are you waiting for?

•January 29, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Being close to someone is a good thing. I mean, that is afterall what we all crave. We enjoy the thought of someone knowing us through and through…well maybe not everything about us. Having an intimate connection to someone can take a huge weight off our shoulders. They already know many of our likes, fears, least favorite subject, annoying sibling, or frustrating parent. The satisfaction of not always playing “catch-up” with your life history can be very liberating.

But what happens when building that closeness (or intimacy) is just taking way too long. We saw a video last night and Sophie was described as being a girl who sold out her purity because she just wanted to “be close” to that “perfect guy.” She wanted to create intimacy, and so sex seemed like the obvious choice. Long story short she was destroyed by her break-up with that “jerk” (who previously was perfect), and vowed to have standards. She made the promise that from now on “she would be different.” She remained “different” until she met a new guy that she “knew was…just perfect.”

After last night, I kept thinking  do we (as Christians) demand so much help, hope, and forgiveness from God that we think His interaction in our life is owed to us? How we settle…no, expect so much control when our lives are visibly spinning off the track…but we slap His hand away like an ungrateful child when we think we should be in the driver’s seat.

If you believe and hold on to God’s love, then you must trust that He will carry it through in every part of your life. You can not fake intimacy. God will develop that closeness and love if you wait on Him. You can not rush it, nor create it with sex. False intimacy is an illusion of control, given to someone who was never intended to have it.

I suppose waiting on God, really doesn’t fit our lives anymore. We never put ourselves in positions to experience “wait” anyway.

We wait for a phone call. We wait for a movie to be released. We wait for a new CD to come out. We even wait for that little plastic buzzer-coaster to go off, so that we can finally get some food.

No, I guess waiting on God…will just have to wait.