Fusion Set List – Dec. 29, 2013

Sunday night I was invited to play at Fusion, a once a month worship service for youth and yound adults in Andover, OH.

  • Revival – Soulfire Revolution
  • Happy Day – Tim Hughes
  • This is Amazing Grace – Bethel
  • Our God – Chris Tomlin
  • All Things New – Elevation Worship
  • This is the Day – Phil Wickham

The artist listed represents the recording we used for reference in planning and rehearsal, not necessarily the original song author. 

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Christmas Eve Set List – Dec. 24, 2013

  • Oh What a Glorious Night – Sidewalk Prophets
  • The First Noel – Phil Wickham
  • Hark the Herald Angels Sing – Eddie Kirkland
  • Oh Come All Ye Faithful – Phil Wickham
  • Silent Night – Todd Fields
  • All Creation Sing (Joy to the World) – North Point

The artist listed represents the recording we used for reference in planning and rehearsal, not necessarily the original song author. 

Living Under the Influence

For week 5 of our walkthrough of Gabe Lyon’s The Next Christians, we looked at three words…

Creativity, Calling, and Culture

The question boils down to: How do we use our creativity to pursue our calling in today’s culture. And that’s certainly not an easy question to answer.

Part of the problem is that when we look at culture, the first thing we notice is what we don’t like, or what we don’t agree with. And when faced with a culture that conflicts with our values there are a few common responses.

We can withdraw, and pretend it’s not happening.
We can protest, and express our views in a negative, critical way.
We can become imitators, taking parts of culture to make christian versions of them that are “safe for the whole family.”

But when we take one of these paths we miss the chance to do what we were created to do. We are meant to create culture, not withdraw, protest, or imitate.

But the problem is that culture is such a large and abstract concept. How can we hope to make a difference?

First, we need to realize that culture isn’t just create in Washington D.C. or even Hollywood. Culture is made up of small moments in our lives through our decisions, actions, and responses to everything in life.

Gabe Lyon’s breaks it down into seven distinct categories. These are the seven ways we are influenced by culture, and therefor the seven channels we can use to be influencers of culture.

  • Media
    • Television
    • Radio
    • Publishing
    • Newspapers
    • Internet
  • Art & Entertainment
    • Artists
    • Film
    • Literature
    • Music
    • Sports
    • Video Games
  • Education
    • School
    • College
  • Business
    • Advertising/Marketing
    • Retailers
    • Finances
    • Technology
    • Medicine
  • Government
    • Congress
    • President
    • Laws / Policy
  • Social
    • Family
    • Friends
    • Relationships / Dating / Marriage
  • Church
    • Local Church
    • Para-Church Organizations & Other Ministries

We can all find ourselves in one or more of these areas of influence. But change can happen when we start to ask, “What’s Missing? What can I add? What can I do different?”

It doesn’t have to be big. Most change starts small. But it can go on to have large scale effects.

 

 

What Do You Do When Something Breaks? (Wednesday Night Recap – October 30, 2013)

At bible study this week we asked a simple question.

What do you do when something is broken?

When something is broken you have two options: throw it away or fix it. But how do you determine if something is worth fixing?

What do you do if you out at an ice cream shop enjoying your ice cream when your plastic spoon breaks? You throw it away and you get a new one. Why? Why don’t you fix the spoon?

What about a necklace your mother gave you, that was given to her by her mother, and her mother before her? What happens when that breaks? You fix it. Why? Why don’t you throw the necklace away? It’s broken.

There are a lot of things to consider when something breaks. The value of the item in question, the amount of time, effort, or cost of the repair, your sentimental or emotional attachment to the item, and a consideration on whether or not the item is replaceable. These are just a few of the criteria that help you decide when something is broken, whether you will throw it away, or fix it.

But what about when a person is broken? What does it even mean when we describe a person as broken?

Broken is not a term of judgment, but a way to describe a person separated from joy, community, purpose, and/or faith.

-Gabe Lyons

Gabe Lyons uses the term broken to describe a person struggling in life, fighting to overcome obstacles or opposition. Broken is what we find when we are honest with ourselves about the things we sometime face. And brokenness can come in many forms: oppression, addiction, comparison, illness, poverty, depression. And brokenness can come from many places: peers, friends, family, school, media, work, religion, and even ourselves.

A broken person is a hard concept to wrap our minds around, but when you encounter someone who demonstrates brokenness, there is no better way to describe it.

Let’s take a look at some broken people:

In each of these stories we find a person broken in one way or another. As you reflect on each of these stories, ask the following questions:

  1. In what way is each character broken?
  2. In what ways does society try to “throw them out?”
  3. How does Jesus respond and fix or restore each of them?

When something is broken we have two options. But when a person is broken there is really only one. We must be focused on bringing restoration to the people in our lives.

When confronted with the corruption of our world – Christians ought to be provoked to engage, not offended and withdrawn.”

-Michael Metzger

 

“We’re called to hold our hands against the wounds of a broken world to stop the bleeding.”

-Donald Miller

Questions for Further Discussion

Gabe Lyons says, “Broken is not a term of judgment, but a way to describe a person separated from joy, community, purpose, and/or faith.” What are some of the ways a person can be broken? What are some of the ways you have seen brokenness in the people in your life? In your own life?

How do the bible stories above challenge your attitude toward the broken? How do they inspire you to respond to brokenness in the lives of people you care about?

 

Converge Recap – October 13, 2013

IDKWIB

This past Sunday I had the privilege to preach at Converge. Usually I’m serving somewhere behind a guitar, most often as our worship leader. It’s always fun to switch things up.

Because Converge meets once a month we don’t think in terms of running themes or message series. Instead, the invitation is for whoever is preaching to preach the message God is asking them to preach to the young people that gather together.

Recently the question on my heart for the students at my church has been, “why do you believe what you believe?” Is it because it’s how they were raised? Is it because their parents make them go to church every week? Or is it because they’ve had an encounter with the living God?

In my experience I’ve found two common threads that run through the mind of a teenager when faced with this question.

I don’t know how to explain what I believe.

I don’t actually know what I believe.

For many of our teenagers church is simply part of their routine. It can be a bit of a double edged sword where they are actively engaging in the life of the church while also never really experiencing the truth of the gospel. But if this is becoming the new normal, then we as leaders are screwing up in a big way.

Less than 4 out of 10 Christians can articulate to someone else what they believe in.

This statistic was shocking to me. Of the entire community people who profess to follow Jesus, a majority of them cannot even tell you why. And when asked how a Christian can be certain the bible is true and historically accurate, the most common response is simply, “It’s what I believe.”

Where do we get the idea that something is true, simply because we believe it’s true? IT that was the case, everybody would be right, all the time. Can you imagine a world where everyone is right every hour of every day. The world just wouldn’t make sense.

I believe I can fly.
I believe I can touch the sky.
I think about it every night and day.
To spread my wings and fly away.

I can’t fly.

The bible isn’t true because we believe it. We believe it because it’s true.

Do you see the difference? We don’t want to be a church that is just a bunch of people who believe but don’t really understand or can’t explain what or why they believe.

We believe…

…that Jesus is simultaneously God and man.

Jesus is 100% God and 100% man. It’s the only way Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross matters. It’s not hard to prove Jesus was a man. He walked among us. You could touch his flesh and pull on his beard if presented with the opportunity. But to prove he is 100% God is more difficult.

Read John 1:1,14

We are told that in the beginning was the Word. And the Word was with God in the beginning (1:1). And a few lines later we’re told that the Word became flesh and dwelt among us (1:14). This means that Jesus is the Word. And Jesus was with God in the beginning, that Jesus was and is God. He is the second part of the Trinity, which is God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.

And Jesus, who has always been, intersects our story through the virgin birth. And then he lived a sinless life, and died a death that we ourselves deserved.

…Salvation by Grace

There is nothing else on earth, above the earth, history past, or future that will ever save anyone other than grace. 

Read Ephesians 2:8-9

By grace we have been saved. And the best part about grace… it’s free! Who doesn’t love free stuff? But so many people get this confused. The predominant thought about heaven and salvation is that it’s all about being a good person. That you are good as long as the good in your life outweighs the bad. So many people are drawn into the lie that it’s all about what you can do on your own.

Read Galatians 2:21

A simple if/then statement. If righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose. Or if I can do this on my own, then there is no need for Christ’s sacrifice. If I can earn my own salvation, then Christ died for nothing. But what we need to understand is that there is no other way. Jesus had to die for you and for me. Because when we look back on our lives, we see mistakes, we see detours, we see a collection of, “I wish I would haves.” But where we see obstacles, Jesus sees opportunity. Where we see brokenness, Jesus sees value. Jesus sees worth in you. He has a love for you that you cannot comprehend or describe.

In his book, What’s So Amazing About Grace? Phillip Yancy describes a story in which C.S. Lewis engages in a discussion about what makes Christianity unique amidst all other world religions.

“Oh, that’s easy. It’s grace.”

-C. S. Lewis

The Buddhist eight-fold path, the Hindu doctrine of karma, the Jewish covenant, and the Muslim code of law – each of these offers a way to earn approval. Only Christianity dares to make God’s love unconditional.

And the truth is that grace has very little to do with us. Rather, grace is freely given from God through the resurrection.

…The Resurrection Brings Grace

In one moment Jesus conquered satan, sin, hell, and death. And when Jesus rose, grace exploded onto the scene. It’s not about earning grace. It’s not about living out more good in your life than bad. It doesn’t matter how good you are because there’s no such thing as good enough. If there were, Jesus would not have had to die.

But don’t let that get you down. Don’t see this as a limitation of the gospel. Instead, we need to see this as the beauty of the gospel. We all need it, no matter how good or bad we think we are or have been. And it’s not just for those who have lived a life where the good out weighs the bad. This line of thinking leads us to comparative faith, where the true measure of our righteousness is a measure against those around us. Faith becomes competitive and grace becomes a limited reward, reserved for a select few front-runners.

God created…
We sinned…
Jesus gave…
We respond…

That’s the life we are invited to live. A life in response to what’s been done for us.

So what’s the answer? How do we respond when asked about our faith?

Why do you believe what you believe?
Because God has offered me infinite grace

and I have made a choice to follow him.

Why… because I need that grace.
Why… because without it I am incomplete.
Why… because we have this hole in our life called sin.
Why… because our human nature pulls us toward temptation.
Why… because we were created with the ability to make choices.
Why… because God doesn’t want to control us, but to have free will.
Why… because He wants us to grow into the people He made us to be.
Why… because He calls us his children and wants the best for his children.
Why… because He loves us.
Why…
…why does God love us?
Yeah, why…
…I don’t know. But I know it’s true.

________________________________________________________________

Questions for Discussion

Parents, ask these questions with your teenagers.
Teenagers, ask these questions with your parents.

  • What do you believe about God, Jesus, and the Bible?
  • Why do you believe what you believe?

Sometimes the simplest questions have the most difficult answers.