Sunday, October 23, 2011

God is Able

Here is a cool acoustic version of a new song they have started playing at the Austin Stone. God is Able by Hillsong. Great song, with even greater words!

I also found this piano only version that is incredible. Talk about talent, this kid is off the charts!


Thursday, October 20, 2011

A selfless life...Is it possible?

Imagine a world where everyone cared about everyone around them more than themselves. Imagine if the most important thing to you and even your purpose was to do everything you could to help those around you and make the world a better place. Imagine a relationship with a friend or spouse in which you only cared about their best interest and in return they cared only about yours. Wouldn't this world be a much different place, a better place? Would the way decisions are made in our country be different? Would the way we spend our time and money change? Wouldn't everyone be "looked out" for and taken care of by their neighbor?

The call is to live a selfless life, but is that really possible? I mean isn't this world a tough place in which we must fight for our survival and "get ours" or else someone else will take it? We must worry about ourselves, make money, put food on the table and live the life we want to live.

Today's society has trained us that we must win. In order to survive we must strive to be the best we can be in order to better than those around us and thus succeed. We work hard to gain the approval of ourselves but more importantly those around us. Do we really care what happens to our neighbor, or only as long as it does not affect our well being?

This last weekend in church at the Austin Stone, Pasture Matt Carter made a very interesting analogy between the Holy Trinity and the way we are called to live our life. He pointed out numerous examples of how the Father, Son and Holy Spirit interact with each other. They are selfless, praising of each other and not self, they have the utmost respect for the other and are constantly sending all the praise outward. They are not self seeking but rather are always assisting the other. This interaction is perfect in every single way and provides a model for how we are called to live out our lives.

One would argue "how could I do that when no one else is living like that", and rightfully so but isn't the Lord our God our provider? Does He not promise to give us everything we need and more?

"Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?"~Mathew 6:26

I would imagine that living a selfless life would be somewhat contagious. We cannot stand around and wait for someone else to step up and start the trend. We must take a stand and begin living as we are commanded. We are more valuable in God's Kingdom than the birds, so we best start acting like it!


Sunday, October 16, 2011

Pay attention

Pay close attention to what God is trying to tell you. God is constantly working in all of our lives and trying to get us close to Him. He brings adversity into our lives every day and takes things away that we value more than our relationship with Him because He loves us.

Faith is believing that God is working every day in your life. If you have true faith in God, rather than seeing the negative when adversity comes, you pay close attention to what God is trying to tell you. God is graceful and only wants the best for His people.

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."~ Jeremiah 29:11

Plain and simple God tells us that He has a plan and it is a plan that will not harm you but rather a plan that will give you everything you could ever need and more. So rather than seeing adversity as a bad thing, look at it as a sign that God is near and that He is speaking directly to you. He has something He wants to tell you. Don't force Him to yell.


Listen to the sound

Here is another amazing song that I wanted to share. Its called Listen to the Sound by Building 429. Fires me up every time I hear it! Pay attention to His plan cause His grace is reaching for us.


Friday, October 14, 2011

My hope is in you Lord- Great song!

Great song with great words by Aaron Shust. My hope is in you Lord!

I pray that no matter what you put in front of me that I stand strong in your name with the faith to persevere! You have always provided for me and that has always been Your promise. Thank you for Your grace!


Thursday, October 13, 2011

Doing what I love.......for God

Today I was thinking about this blog and how it came to be what it is today. If you look back at old posts you will see the transition that I made and am making each day based on the posts I write. It started purely as a motivational blog and has slowly shifted to a faith based/spiritual blog, still with a positive outlook. As I was reflecting on this, I remembered a time when I prayed that God would give me the passion and creativity that I have for my business for Him.

As you may or may not know, I love marketing and social media. It is so easy for me to get fired up and talk for hours about these topics because it interests me, it excites me. In fact, I have recently started speaking publicly about these marketing practices and have been blessed with the knowledge and ability to do so. I always have a million ideas running through my head about business and marketing at all times because I have passion for it . As I started thinking about all of this passion, I literally sat down and asked God to use that passion, that excitement, those ideas for His kingdom. I have always struggled, and still do, with following the Lord's commands, with making the time to study His words, to spend time praying, serving, etc. I never have a problem working a lot or thinking up new business ideas. So I imagined a day when I could have that passion for the God and asked God to make that happen in my life.

Today, while talking with a friend and follower of this blog, it dawned on me that the prayer has been answered. These posts I write are not me talking, but rather God talking through me. I do not have the heart or mind to come up with this stuff but God has truly touched my heart and inspired me to share what I am learning and struggling with, with you! In fact I am using the most powerful marketing platforms ever created, Facebook and twitter, to share His word. I am using my passion to share what He has done in my life.

As I was reading some scripture I found a verse that speaks exactly to this idea:

Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory and the power for ever and ever."~1 Peter 4:7-11

At Austin Stone a few weeks back, the Pasture talked about how God calls the musicians "to play the most beautiful music" and the artists to "paint the most beautiful paintings" and the photographers to "capture the most beautiful pictures" so that we can fully see the beauty of God! He challenged the congregation to live for God and extend His grace in all that we do. I extend that challenge to you! What is your passion? What do you love to do and how can you use that to serve God? When you start thinking like this its pretty incredible how you find yourself enjoying things that you likely hated when you were a kid, like going to church, or doing community service, or saying your prayers before you go to bed at night.

Mission is not about moving to a foreign land and preaching. Mission is about loving the people around you, serving your community, making the world a better places and loving the Lord. Whatever you love to do in your everyday life, is it possible to do it for God?

Marketing for God

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Marriage advice from the unmarried

So my best friend is finally tying the knot at the end of this month and last night he called and asked me for a recommendation for a good bible reading that pertains to marriage. It seems like more and more of my friends are getting married and as I have personally grown stronger in my faith I really started thinking about how little God is referenced or acknowledged in many weddings and marriages that I see. Now I am not saying that everyone I know does not love the Lord or that no one gets it right but I think we can all agree that more God in our lives is not a bad thing.

As I started reading last night and looking for the right verse, I began writing down some goods ones that I really liked and felt can be real tools for a successful marriage. Now keep in mind that I have never been married so my experience here is very limited. In fact, if you would have asked me two years ago if God mattered in marriage I would have said "no way". But as I come to know the Lord more and more, I now understand how wrong I was.

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment.~Mathew 22: 37-38

The most important factor is that both of you love the Lord, more than each other. We have seen time and time again that relationships between humans will always fail, but if each other has a real love for God you will keep it together and make it work for God.

In order to love one must know God:

"Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love."~ 1 John 4: 7-8

Remember that you are now a team! God has called you to be together as one flesh. No longer can you make selfish decisions but rather your responsibility is now for yourself and your spouse. Every decision you make must be made in the best interest of both of you. Do not ever let anyone or anything separate you.

“Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator made them male and female, and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”~Mathew 19:4-6

I also believe that it is very important to love as God loves us. God loves us unconditionally even though we turn from Him every moment of every day. He loved us so much that He gave his only son for us so that we may be saved. This is the example of true sacrifice and willingness to do anything, no matter the cost, for someone else. Your marriage will be the most successful when both give each other everything they have and do not hold anything back; both of you will be completely taken care of by the other. Be an example for your family as well!

"Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant sacrifice to God."~Ephesians 5:1-2

There will be days when your spouse annoys you are drives you completely insane. There will be things they do that challenge your heart and love for them but remember that God calls you to fight through that:

"Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace" ~Ephesians 4:2-3

One of my favorites has to do with pleasing each other, and yes this means sexually! Now that you are married this is something you can enjoy sin free and as your unmarried friend I say "Take advantage!". Remember to work at this and keep it interesting and fun. This is one of the many gifts of God and He gave it to us so that we can enjoy it. Never forget that and always find ways to make it as enjoyable as possible. :) FYI- the parenthesis is really a modern day translation of this verse.

"The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife(should fulfill his wife's sexual needs), and likewise the wife to her husband." ~1 Corinthians 7:3

Remember to keep the marriage bed pure but also live a life for God and not for money or success. You two have been blessed with each other which is more than you need or deserve. The best things in life are the hardest to obtain so stay true to who you are and don't bend on these things. Give everything you have to the Lord and I promise you will be more than blessed forever.

"Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral. Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." ~Hebrews 13: 4-5

He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the LORD.~Proverbs 18:22

Lastly I leave you with the most important of all. The Armor of God will protect you from the brutal world that exists around us. Make sure that you equip yourselves with God so that you can stay strong in faith; faithful to the Lord and each other. Do not just go to church but make God the priority because you need Him to survive! Challenge each other, encourage each other, pray together, give thanks together and make sure that God is #1 in your household.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all of this, take up the shield of faith, which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kind of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.~Ephesians 6: 10-18

The last part of that verse is the most important and that is to pray constantly. We cannot do it alone and we need to be in constant prayer with God in order to keep our focus and receive his blessings so that we may persevere.

Remember this:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.~ 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Make the Lord the priority in your lives and you will have the best marriage you could have ever imagined. No one said it was going to be easy.

reconsidering this whole marriage thing : ), JK!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Excess of anything is too much

Do not take more than you need. Excess of anything is too much. We are all materialistic in some way or another and I am the first to admit that I like nice things. What I am learning is that "nice things" don't matter in God's kingdom.

"Do not store up for yourself treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will also be"~Mathew 6: 19-20

Think about this, many people get nice things because they want to portray a certain image or impress certain people. Now step back and ask yourself this question: Do you really want to build a relationship with someone that likes you because of what you have? Isn't there something so wrong about that? People also buy nice things to make themselves feel better. Won't you lose or break that "thing" at some point? How is that going to make you feel?

The wealthiest people in the world are not wealthy because they spent their money on expensive things. They are wealthy because they spent their money on only what they needed and invested in things that had potential to grow. Luxury items such as cars are depreciating assets and will only lose their value. If you can't afford to lose that money then why spend it. We as a people are often times so focused on the now and fail to realize that we have a long road ahead. If you want to have financial independence later, you must make sacrifices now to obtain that.

Another point I would like to bring up is about spending a lot on excess when you can be helping out someone else and still have what you need. If you believe in God, He calls us to love our neighbor. Taking more than you need while your neighbor struggles to make a house payment is not how you love your neighbor. What if you could have a nice house and help your neighbor out at the same time?

The true test is to figure out what is the most important thing in your life. If "that car" or "that boat" is the most important thing to you, I feel sorry for you because the day that car is gone will come. If God is the most important thing to you, you will find acceptance in Him and that acceptance has nothing to do with material things. So being right with God would naturally make you not place importance on those things and would call you to spend your money in other areas or even save. Let me also add, that these sacrifices may not be about helping people you don't know but rather the people you care about most. The way you spend your money now may affect what your son or daughter (which you may not even have yet) has down the road. It would be a shame to have expensive clothes now and not be able to provide food on the table later. Or how about getting a call from a family member or friend in desperate need and you cannot help them out because of that stupid purchase.

"No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money."~Mathew 6:24

I struggle with this a lot because I do like nice things and I also have nice things. I also like to make money. But maybe we can all make a conscious effort to pay attention to this excess and try to limit it going forward. Paying attention and calling it out is a start. The richest men in our world, may not even be the wealthiest. The richest men in our world are right with God and may or may not have money. I believe that God will entrust His money to those who He knows will use it for His kingdom.

Now many people will say "I work hard for my money and I should be able to spend how I please" and yes you are right. Wouldn't it be nice if what pleases God, pleases us?!!

Think about it

Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Battle for my heart

This is a new song that is amazing that I thought I should share. For those of you that have heard it, you know what I am talking about. If you listen closely to the words its spells it out so perfectly!

There are a million things in this world that are constantly at war with our hearts, trying to pull them away from what is right. No matter how hard we try, no matter what situations we try and avoid sin and evil are everywhere. Evil is constantly at battle inside of all of us and that will never stop. The call of God is not an easy path as it is said in the bible but it IS the path to which we are called.

I have had many great conversations over the past few days about the call of God and how, we as humans try and alter it just a bit to "meet our needs" and allow us to still maintain our own lives. We try and justify our weakness to the evil with our own false words. But again, our call is very clear. It may not be comfortable or what we "want", but it is the call of God and with that comes his promise for eternal happiness, righteousness, grace,etc.; super hard call with an even greater reward.

I struggle every second of every day. Evil eats at my heart always. But the good news is that the battle for my heart has already been won! Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sin so that we are released from the shackles and become pure through God the Father!