Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Jealousy, The Solution

"Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart"
--Psalm 37:4

I want the desires of my heart to be fulfilled. For these to be fulfilled, I must find my delight in God.

Why should God be my delight? How can I enjoy Him? Why should His every name, His every word, His every attribute, His every act be cause for greater delight?

Here's some ideas:

As to a jealousy for people's attention:
"Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that He may life you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you." --1 Peter 5.6-7

When I lose myself in serving others, putting others before myself, and living a life of humility before God, I can be assured that He will lift me up in due time. I don't need to posit myself as the greatest in front of a crowd. I don't need to win the attention of fickle people. I don't need to constantly press to be at the forefront of the minds of others. God (who is infinitely wiser than me) will take care of that.

Problem: What about me? Instantly, my mind is thinking, "Well, if I am so busy meeting others needs, putting others before myself, and not parading myself, but humbly serving in the background, how are my needs going to get met? What about me!?!"

Answer: v. 7--Cast all your cares on God. I need to specifically pray those specific worries to Him. He cares for me, He loves me, He is working everything out for good. Don't worry about yourself, God knows, God watches, God cares.

As to a jealousy for possessions:
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. According to His great mercy, He has caused us to born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you." --1 Peter 1.3-4

"My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my Portion forever." --Psalm 73.26

God is my Portion. God has seen fit to give me what He has given me. Because of what He has done for me (see: mercy, new birth, Living Hope, resurrection), I have an inheritance. I have riches. I have all I could ever want. And guess what, unlike a 2010 Mustang, it won't rust (its imperishable), and unlike a new MacBook it won't break (its undefiled), and unlike an IPhone 3G S, it won't get outdated (its unfading).

As to a jealousy for happiness:
"Though you have not seen Him, you love Him. Though you do not now see Him, you believe in Him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls." --1 Peter 1.8-9

"You have made known to me the path of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence, with eternal pleasures at Your right hand." --Psalm 16.11

I have done some fun things in this life, but none of them has brought me inexpressible joy. A lot of joy? Yes. A lot of fun? Yes. A you-had-to-be-there kind of happiness? Yes. Inexpressible and filled with glory kind of joy? No. I thank God for happiness and I can enjoy things in this life only because of Him. But, true joy is found in the presence of God. True happiness is found in the gospel. As I delight in God, God promises inexpressible joy will be mine.

As to a jealousy for experiences:
"In this you rejoice, though now, for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials so that the tested genuineness of your faith--more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire--may be found to result in praise and honor and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ." --1 Peter 1.6-7

I have a caring God. He brings me into situations where the Holy Spirit can refine me to look more like Christ. God, each and every day (and mostly through what I might consider to be the "mundane"), He is giving me experiences that cause me to be conformed to the image of Jesus. Too often I live as if 95% of my life is a boring hassle. I live life like a 'fun' junkie in search of my next fix, never satisfied until I get more and more 'fun'. I don't have to. Instead, I can delight in God and trust that every day the experiences and trials and highs and lows and fun and the mundane will result in the praise and honor and glory of Jesus one day.

As to a jealousy for abilities:
"As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace." --1 Peter 4.10

I am blessed to be able to serve in a church and a youth group. I am blessed to have received gifts that I can use to serve the church and bring glory to the name of Jesus. I tend to ignore my gifts, take them for granted, and want other gifts. Rather than try to satiate the never-ending thirst for more and better (if I was gifted with a guitar, I would want to be gifted with drums, then piano, then every other instrument, then with creative song-writing abilities, then with a great voice, then with recording abilities, then with production skills, then with... see, its unappeasable), I need to use what God has given me and serve.

The reason is in v.11--that in everything God (not Dan), might be glorified. Its all His anyways...I'm just blessed to have been given a stewardship.

Stop comparing and follow Christ.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Youth Leader: Tim

Name: Tim Haumersen

Nickname: Timmy Hums

Years in RBC Youth Ministry: 3.5 years

Roles: 7th Grade Boys Leader

Gifts: Administration, Service, Organization, making microwavable popcorn, and, oh yeah, he's ok at piano

Evidences of Grace: He (has/is) (poured/is pouring) his life into serving Jesus. That's a pretty good evidence of grace, but it goes further. He will serve when

-he is counted on

-he is "supposed to"

-called on at the last minute

-its not fun

-he needs to use up almost all of his vacation days at work to help middle school and high school kids fall more in love with Jesus

- by giving up weekends to stay up late spending time with youths at fall retreats

- others dump issues on him and he has to listen and give counsel

-spending his free time making food for (mostly) thankless youths and their (mostly) thankless youth pastor

- by doing whatever it takes to help others grow

Tim is a good friend and RBC is blessed to have him. He doesn't collect a check from the church (even though he probably should) and may not even be recognized for the behind-the-scenes work he does. He daily spends time with the Lord and it shows. He is a model of discipline and it shows. He is humble and, so, Christ shows.

Jealousy, The Problem

"Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart"
--Psalm 37:4

I want the desires of my heart to be fulfilled. Sometimes, I think the desires of my heart are 2010 Ford Mustang convertible or a MacBook Pro or an IPhone 3G S. These are not the desires of my heart, these are objects (read: toys) that I could get in an attempt to meet the desires of my heart.

I have a desire to have people's attention on me. I want people to look at me, to notice me, to like me.

I have a desire to have things. I like having things and I like the security that comes from having things.

I have a desire for happiness. I don't like being unhappy. I like being happy--all the time.

I have a desire for good experiences. I don't like being sick. I don't like missing out on fun things when they happen. I like to say, "I've done that," "I've been there," and "I know that."

I have a desire for better abilities. I wish I has better skills. I was reminded recently that I wish I had some kind, any kind of musical skills.

What can I do?

1. Be Jealous. Wish I had all those desires met. Be envious of those who appear to have every desire met. Be bitter toward them. Covet what they have. Be frustrated (at myself, or other people, or even God) for not having my desires met.

2. Believe.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Youth Leader: TK

Name: Todd Kellner

Nickname: TK

Years in RBC Youth Ministry: 24 years

Roles: High School Guys Leader

Gifts: Teaching, Confrontation, Driving (on long trips), Driving (with his Ping G10)

Evidences of Grace: He is a youth leader whom I’ve have become good friends with. He loves the Lord and loves the youth group. He’s gone through a difficult last year being unemployed, but was a great model of what someone should do when they are unemployed. He gave himself to three things:

1. Looking for a job

2. His family (his folks—who have had significant health issues)

3. The local church

Todd has been my right hand man, giving constantly of time and effort to the youth group. He’s been on every trip we’ve done, served in the nursery and children’s ministry (with the youth who serve in those areas), and wrote a 15-week study on sin for the youths to grow from. As he endured unemployment, he kept looking to God for dependence.

God provided him a job last week.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Top Ten: Thankfulness

Things I am thankful for today....

1. Sleeping in. I am grateful to be able to have days to relax and catch up on sleep--to sleep even after the sun rises without a pressing need to be somewhere.

2. Computer. I spent a chunk of the day working on my lesson, reading commentaries, checking sermons, listening to messages, typing out thoughts (and deleting thoughts)--all done on a computer that most days I take for granted.

3. Football. I enjoy sports and I learn a great deal about God (and myself) from watching sports. More on this later, but I am grateful to be able to watch and follow football.

4. Pastors/Friends. Tonight, we had Party with the Pastors--to welcome in new folks to the church. The staff all met the new folks at Darien's house and I had enjoyable conversations with each couple.

5. New People. I met several folks who are new to the church. Several of them told me about how God was richly blessing their lives or how God had used the church to grow them recently. Exciting.

6. Friends. As simple as it sounds, it is nice to know you are cared about. Getting a text or a phone call about plans for the night is fun. God has created us to be relational people and I am grateful to have many fantastic friends.

7. Stories. The more I teach, the more I see how well people connect with stories. I notice that I can zone out when someone is speaking, but when they tell a story--I'm locked in. I am glad God has made us that way--I love good stories.

8. Kleenex. I've been fighting a cold for the last few days and the battle would have been much worse without tissue.

9. Mom. Not only did she bend over backwards for me since Day 1 (read: July 30, 1984), but she continues to do so. She still does my laundry, makes desserts for me, and now (circa: April 2009) she texts me. I've got the best mom in the world and you can't tell me otherwise.

10. Jesus. I mean, come on. Forgiveness, love, victory over sin, peace with God, my Portion forever.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Smart Pastors

I am grateful for the other men that I serve with. These are men I look up to greatly and have a profound respect for. They have helped me immeasurably in ministry and continue to set the pace for my own walk with Jesus.

Spencer sets the tone for the entire staff. He is unflappable and keeps his eye on the big picture, despite pressure from the outside. He knows the Bible through and through and is able to articulate it to both large groups, small groups, and individuals (not an easy task). He is Gospel-centered and it shows. His actions, preaching, and direction are derived from the Gospel.

Darien has gifts most people dream about. He not-so-secretly runs the church (in a good way). He does children's ministry, discipleship, counseling, Sunday School, Firm Foundation, and just about everything else. And, he does it well. He knows the Bible through and through and has spoken its truth into my life on many occasions.

John Miesel loves the Lord with all his heart and is an example of faithful ministry. He has served as a missionary for years and still has a desire to see all nations hear about Jesus. While I'm one of the many does-almost-being-made-fun-of-count-as-persecution? American Christians, he has gone much further, including risking his life for the Gospel. Even today, he builds up the body through encouraging visits and relational discipleship. He also knows God's Word through and through.

John Anderson exudes holiness and shows the rest of the church what its like to put God first, despite having a non-ministry job most of his life. His Sunday School class continues to grow and part of the reason for this is the genuine e love of Jesus that he has for those in his class. Its not a charade, but a compassion for people and their needs. Oh yeah, and he knows the Bible through and through.

Wayne is the model of an "on-fire" Christian. He has been changed by Jesus and he wants everyone to know Jesus' love. He isn't concerned about his own reputation and has been used by God to impact souls for eternity. Cool, huh? He doesn't let people get a pass spiritually, but will press the issue, forcing people to face their own sin and disobedience to God. And, you guessed it, he knows the Bible through and through.

1 Peter tells us that we can't see Jesus; in spite of this, we love Him. This is true and I look forward to the day when I will see Him. I hope this more than anything. In the mean time, I see Jesus in a real way when I serve with these five guys. They know Jesus more than me and challenge me to know Him more deeply.

Yeah, I'm blessed.

25 Things About Jesus

1 Jesus offers a way out of our own pointless efforts to permanent freedom
“Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:29)

2 Jesus is our only Way to heaven
“Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
(John 14:6)

3 Jesus is the Basis for our identity and acceptance
“So the honor is for you who believe, but for those who do not believe, "The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone,” (1 Peter 2:7)

4 Jesus is the Ultimate King with infinite honor
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory.”
(Matthew 25:31)

5 Jesus is the Authority over everything
“And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.” (Ephesians 1:22-23)

6 Jesus is more real than anything
“These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.”
(Colossians 2:17)

7 Jesus made it possible for us to have direct access to God
“For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility,” (Ephesians 2:14)

8 Jesus satisfied God’s anger toward sin in Christians
“God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished—he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.”
(Romans 3:25-26)

9 Jesus is our Guide and Protector
“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me—“
(John 10:14)

10 Jesus was, is, and will always be God
“I tell you the truth," Jesus answered, "before Abraham was born, I am!” (John 8:58)

11 Jesus stands before God in our place
“My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.”
(1 John 2:1)

12 Jesus is worthy of all celebration
“In a loud voice they sang: "Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!”
(Revelation 5:12)

13 Jesus perfectly obeyed God’s will
“For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit,” (1 Peter 3:18)

14 Jesus provides contentment that an empty world cannot
“Then Jesus declared, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.” (John 6:35)

15 Jesus will never change
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”
(Hebrews 13:8)

16 Jesus is greater than anything we can gain in this life
“What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ” (Philippians 3:8)

17 Jesus will strike down those who aren’t His own
“Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. "He will rule them with an iron scepter." He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty.”
(Revelation 19:15)

18 Jesus has the power to save us from death
“For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son gives life to whom he is pleased to give it.” (John 5:21)

19 Jesus will judge all people
Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. (Romans 8:34)

20 Jesus shines through His people
“Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.” (Romans 13:14)

21 Jesus’ resurrection produces hope
“If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection.” (Romans 6:5)

22 Jesus loves us
“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.” (John 15:9)

23 Jesus is our delight
“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” (2 Corinthians 4:7)

24 Jesus releases us from sin's power
“To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, "If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:31, 32, 36)

25 Jesus is the certainty of salvation
“And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these th
ings to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.” (1 John 5:11-13)