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Are you in conversation with the Holy Spirit?

 

For the past few weeks I’ve been preaching about the Holy Spirit. It has been a great journey and I’ve truly enjoyed watching our church grow in our understanding. The video below is a great and even humorous look into a conversation that we ALL need to have with the Holy Spirit based on Psalm 139.

 

 

How would this conversation go for you? Are you growing in your relationship with the Holy Spirit? Take some time to read Psalm 139. Better yet, let Psalm 139 read you!

 

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5questions

This blog is a great follow-up to last weekend’s Renewed Bliss message that was a challenge for men… How to Become a Great Lead-Her. WATCH IT HERE on YouTube or LISTEN HERE for the iTunes Podcast.

1. What is the most romantic thing that I’ve ever done for you?

I think you will be surprised… The answer will most likely be something you totally didn’t expect. When we get married we tend to think about nice places and spending lots of money, but the reality is that the little things go along way to communicate our love for our wife.

2. What is something fun we can do together?

Guys, our definition of fun and hers are usually completely different. One of the things about most women is that they want to feel connected to their husbands… to feel like they matter and are important… and one of the ways they do that is by simply having fun.

Now men — I’m not talking about taking her to something that you like doing… I am talking about asking her what she wants to do… and then making that happen! Trust me, it communicates to her that you care.

3. What is one thing I can do for you this week that will relieve stress from your life?

I truly believe that we honestly have no idea how much stress a lady carries around with her on a daily basis. Then you also have to take into consideration how they were created… you don’t have to understand it… you just have to know… that in their life… everything affects everything. So, we should be willing to do all that we can to relieve stress from her life.

This may include giving her an afternoon to herself… without the kids. It may include you cooking dinner one night… and even cleaning up afterwards. Whatever it takes… do it!

4. How can I pray for you?

It is amazing the number of men who will not ask their wife this question. Men, we are called to lead our homes spiritually, which means we should provide protection and direction.

Now, when she asks you to pray for something specific, please resist the temptation to go ahead and be the answer to her prayer by solving the problem she’s bringing to your attention. She asked you to pray… not lecture. I know we have a tendency to try to fix everything, but she doesn’t want you to fix her problem… she wants you to listen to her!

5. If you could change one thing about our marriage, what would it be?

This one takes guts! Most of us assume or at least hope that the answer would be… NOTHING and that our wife would proceed to tell us that we’re perfect. However, that’s rarely the case.

If your wife shares a concern, it’s probably NOT for the purpose of hurting you, but rather because she truly desires to improve that area of your marriage. It may sting a little, but it will also give great insight into what she considers to be important.

Men, Ephesians 5:25 says we are to love our wives as Christ loves his bride, the church.

  • He never stops loving the church.
  • He never stops pursuing the church.
  • He always comes home for the church.
  • He never cheats on the church.
  • He provides for the church.
  • He never stops thinking about the church.
  • He takes the church seriously.

I am not the perfect husband, but more and more I am realizing that my marriage should not be about what I can get, but what I can give and how I can serve.

As men of God, we should go all out to show the world how awesome Jesus is by loving our brides as He loves His!


This adapted post originally appeared on PerryNoble.com

I went for a much-needed bike ride this morning. While the bike ride was needed, it was the alone time with God that I was actually pursuing. It was such a refreshing time… emotionally, physically, and spiritually.

If you’ve ever spent much time outdoors, you know that a variety of SMELLS exist. This became very evident for me while on my ride. There were many smells, but I just want to mention two. These two smells would be “bookends” on opposite ends of the spectrum. So, what were they?

The stench of the SEWER TREATMENT PLANT and the refreshing aroma of a HONEYSUCKLE VINE. See I told you that they were complete opposites!

As I considered these contrasting odors, I began to think about and ponder the following scripture…

Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God. But this fragrance is perceived differently by those who are being saved and by those who are perishing. To those who are perishing, we are a dreadful smell of death and doom. But to those who are being saved, we are a life-giving perfume. And who is adequate for such a task as this? (2 Corinthians 2:15-16)

So, the reality is this… to some YOU JUST STINK… and to others YOUR LIFE IS A SWEET FRAGRANCE.

To those who are rebellious toward the drawing of God… YOU STINK. Let’s face it, the Gospel is offensive. The Gospel informs people, among other things, the following…

  • You are a sinner by nature and choice.  (Romans 3:10-18)
  • You are under the wrath of an almighty God. (Romans 1:18 ; Romans 2:5)
  • You can’t fix yourself. (Ephesians 2:8-10)
  • Your best efforts to do good are more stinky than a pile of poo and filthy menstual rags.
  • You cannot know God via any other means or religions outside of Christ, everything else is damnable. (John 14:6)

 

If you are living or preaching a Gospel that’s not offending, THEN YOU ARE NOT LIVING OR PREACHING THE RIGHT GOSPEL. The results of the Gospel will always be drastic. It will either result in radical life-change or anger and even persecution towards the one who proclaims it.

However, we can’t end this post with that because the Gospel is also GOOD NEWS! It is a SWEET FRAGRANCE to those recieving it because the benefits are MANY… salvation, eternity with God, unity with Goddeepest satisfaction and joy, personal holiness, freedom from sin, and a life that brings glory to God.

So, following my bike ride… Me and God are good… I can’t say the same for how others percieve me (or my spiritual odor), but that’s okay! My pursuit is to know Jesus and make Him known today!

With that being said, DON’T try to cover or mask your odor for acceptence of those who think YOU STINK… it’s really NOT YOU THAT STINKS… that’s really the smell of THEIR OWN SIN. Keep being salt and light and continue loving and pointing them to JESUS!

In closing…

How do you smell today?

How do others smell to you?

How does your life smell to God?

Down and Dirty: (adjective) realistic, coarse, uninhibited, unscrupulous, and fiercely competitive.

Discipleship: (verb) the intensely personal activity of two or more persons helping each other experience a growing relationship with God. Discipleship is being before doing, maturity before ministry, character before career.  

The past few Saturday evenings have been filled with some Down and Dirty Discipleship as a group of folks have simply gathered around the table for a meal. We have certainly challenged one another and pushed one another to be more like Jesus! It has been Down and Dirty because it has been a group of people who have grown to trust one another and we’ve been in an environment where it’s safe to be authentic. It has certainly been uninhibited and fiercely competitive!

I just wanted to take a few minutes to write this post because I’ve enjoyed being part of such a group! It has been great for my walk with Jesus! I would encourage everyone to find a safe place to gather with people you trust to talk about the tough questions you have… to wrestle with what the Bible says and what it DOESN’T say… to challenge your beliefs.

Every follower of Jesus, including you, is both a disciple and a discipler in the context of your relationship with Christ. You have the awesome privilege and responsibility both to be a teacher and a learner of what it means to be in Christ, walk in the spirit, and live by faith. You may have a role in your family, workplace, community, and church which gives you specific responsibility for discipling others. But even as an appointed discipler, you are never not a disciple who is learning and growing in Christ through your relationships. This is why my last few Saturdays have been so good for me!

Also, you may not have an “official” responsibility to disciple anyone, but you are never not a discipler. You have the opportunity to help your children, your friends, and other believers grow in Christ through your caring and committed relationship with them.

For those that are part of the Terra Nova Church family… be praying about that Small Group of people who will be able to best provide Down and Dirty Discipleship.

Okay, so today when I began to browse through Facebook posts from last night I discovered that several folks in Sikeston had encountered a gentleman who was hanging out in town and apparently resembled the iconic image of Jesus. Naturally this grabbed my attention. One family had even helped put him up in a local motel, so I assumed that he just might still be in town. Thus, I decided to see if I could track him down because I had some questions.

  

Let me first say that “Jesus” is actually Neal Thompson and seems to be a super nice guy! I really do admire his boldness and his effort to point people to Jesus. Clearly, he has pointed some folks to Jesus and even created some great conversations that have people doing some self evaluation. So, I am in no way discounting that. However, here we are in Sikeston, MO and “Jesus” has come and gone… people are talking… people have questions… people have thoughts… and I’m just one of those people! This blog is going to be pretty raw, so hang with me.

  

I guess the thing that initially grabbed my attention on Facebook was that people (some who claim to know Jesus) perked up when he came to town and they were outraged that he faced opposition. After all, he was just a man who loved people and wanted to share Jesus. I quickly pointed out that there are many people in Sikeston who love Jesus and face opposition from others… we just dress like you and not “Jesus”.

 

 I finally caught up with him near the American Legion Baseball Park… below is the actual interview… 

 

Click this image to view the video!

 

Here are several thoughts;

 

For those of you in Sikeston… There really are many people who are radically sold out to Jesus who live right here! I know many of them… I have the honor of pastoring a church full of them! They long to see people come to Jesus! The truth is that I have as much, if not more, respect for them than I do the “Jesus” traveler because they risk the opinion of others everyday to be Jesus here in this city! They have chosen to develop and build relationships… to invest in friends and family… all because they desire for them to know Jesus and experience life-change! So, look around… maybe tomorrow you will see another Neal Thompson, but this time you may recognize them as someone you already know!

 

The other point I want to touch on briefly is the fact that there is a small segment of our population that perceives Christianity as “Hokey” at best. Let me be honest, most of these are what I would call a man’s man. Guys that I’ve been working hard to develop relationships with and help them understand that a relationship with Jesus is NOT a sissy thing! Not all churches or Christians resemble the unbiblical wack jobs on so called Christian television. Now image the conversations I will have trying to explain Neal to those guys who perceive the things of Christ as “Hokey”.

 

I am a firm believer in the reality that the Gospel is best delivered through relationship. Hear me, I’m not discounting the reality that God can use one time encounters, but most who receive Christ and grow in a relationship with Him do so because they are in relationship with someone that shared Jesus. From the perspective that Neal wanted to share the hope of the Gospel… He would be much more affective if he planted himself in a community and built relationships where he earned the right to share the Gospel. He clearly was not prepared to lead anyone to Jesus! He didn’t even have a Bible on him… and trust me… he didn’t have it memorized. Also, I depend on my Bible to help me become more like Jesus. The Bible should be the filter that we run everything through… He needs it to affirm that what he hears from God is really in agreement with Scripture. 1 Peter 3:15 also says, Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. The true story of that hope is found in the Bible. 

Another thing that drew much conversation was the fact that a Sikeston Police Officer came to talk with Neal and interrupted our interview. We have to understand that our law enforcement agencies are here to protect us! Neal had absolutely no identification on him. For all they knew he could be here with less than pure motives. The other thing that I want to express is that I respectfully ended my interview and went on because God has called me here to Sikeston to make a difference. My actions and attitude had to be such that when God gives me the opportunity to share Jesus with that officer… I hadn’t compromised that through disrespect. My relationship with that officer was more important than a few questions for a guy who was just passing through.

 

Finally, I am in agreement with many of the things Neal said during our time together. However, my message to those who claim to know Jesus and desire to change our nation is this; We will change our city, our state, our nation, and our world one person at a time… one relationship at a time… one family at a time. We won’t really make a difference for the kingdom with boycotts, petitions, protests, or even our vote. We are called to simply love the lost and give them Jesus!

 

Be inspired, be challenged, be intrigued, but MOST importantly BE JESUS! If Neal Thompson can create a BUZZ by being Jesus… What will happen tomorrow when we all wake up ready to be Jesus to our city?

 

Again, this was just some raw thoughts. I appreciated Neal coming to Sikeston because clearly he sparked some great conversation… Now what are you gonna do with it?

This has been another incredible week for Terra Nova Church! This week we’ve seen individuals pray to receive Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior… thus beginning an awesome journey toward life-change!

So, what does LIFE-CHANGE look like? There have been times in ministry that I just wished that I could show a picture of the change that comes from following Jesus. Finally… today I can show you a picture! My new friend, Mitch, is at the center of the most remarkable life-change that I’ve seen in a long time!

With his permission… allow me to introduce you to Mitch Lowe. When I met Mitch a few months back I was told that he’ll never change, let alone attend church. Let me be honest, it broke my heart because “church folk” had given up on Mitch. He was not the picture of a model citizen, however, he was the picture of a life that needed Jesus and the picture of a life that Jesus could transform! That’s the part of the Gospel that I love… IT’S FOR EVERYONE!

Mitch runs a local karoke business that plays at all the bars here in town. If you need to find Mitch on the weekend… chances are that’s where you would find him. However, the reality that this lifestyle was growing less and less appealing and was always coming up short was beginning to weigh on Mitch. It was about this time that through family and Facebook that I met Mitch. We began to talk and even met for lunch a few times. The goal was NOT to get Mitch to Terra Nova Church! The goal WAS to get Mitch to Jesus! Throughout this time I could see God at work in Mitch preparing him to recieve the Gospel. Well, this 4th of July weekend he found REAL freedom!

While on Facebook early Sunday morning (12:55am) I noticed the following status…

“I feel like I’m in a bad horror movie and they forgot to kill me off. Wishing I could’ve enjoyed the company of my friends I aint seen in a while tonight. Depression sucks!! Sorry I took off and came home early, didnt wanna ruin everyone elses night but thanks 4 trying to cheer me up…”

It was at this point that I just began to pray for Mitch and then headed off to bed. Then I was back up early to prepare for our day of worship at Terra Nova Church. At about 6:00am I posted the notes for the day’s message and went on with my morning. In the mean time God was clearly at work. This was Mitch’s status at 6:58am!

“I have tried to fill my life up with busy stuff and working and helping others, but it all just reminds me how much more alone I am when I get home. Getting ready to shower and shave and then off to join the Terra Nova Family for church. After wakeing up and reading Chad’s Message Notes I am very intrigued.”

Well, we start services at 10:00am, but Mitch was there and ready at 9:00am! The entire day was built around being free in Christ and I began a series called “CHANGED” from the book of Philemon.

Formerly he was useless to you, but now he has become useful both to you and to me. – Philemon 1:11

formerly: pote (pot-eh’); in the old time, in time past, formerly.

but now: de nuni (deh, noo-nee’); no longer the past, but now.

This was the moment for Mitch! He finally had his own “Pote De Nuni” moment! He discovered that he could be FREE from his past and walk in a new life that comes from Christ! When the invitation was given Mitch responded and gave his life to Christ!

It was interesting because Mitch had taken a few pictures of himself before church and after church and posted them on Facebook. When I looked at them… I just had to create the following side by side because the change was so obvious! What do you think?

THIS IS WHAT LIFE-CHANGE LOOKS LIKE!

It has been another amazing weekend for Terra Nova Church! Tonight I’ve really been evaluating how awesome it has been to see the folks that God is bringing to us. It’s been interesting because they simply ARE NOT asking the questions that we tend to think about in our church circles.

The list below is from Perry Noble’s Blog on March 31, 2010… I found it to be very accurate!

DISCLAIMER: I am NOT saying that some of the things on this list aren’t important… I’m simply affirming that they don’t tend to be priority for those unchurched who are seeking to connect to the body of Christ.

  

10 Questions That Unchurch People ARE NOT Asking!

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#1 – “What do you do to disciple people?”  (This question is usually asked by people who want to ‘microwave” spiritually, and not understand that they themselves actually became mature in the “crock pot.”)

#2 – “Who is speaking this weekend?”  (They usually don’t care about the WHO…it’s the WHAT that matters to them.)

#3 – “Are you reformed in your theology?”  (Most of them have no idea what in the heck this means!)

#4 – “Is your church spirit filled?”

#5 – “What version of the Bible do you use?”  (Many unchurched people don’t even really know there are different versions!)

#6 – “What denomination are you affiliated with?”

#7 – “How many different activities can I sign my family up for in order to add to the insane schedule that we already have?”

#8 – “Does your pastor teach exegetically through the Scriptures?”

#9 – “Are there lots of crosses and pictures of Jesus in your church?”

#10 – “Are you guys pre trib, mid trib, post trib or partial trib?”

 

Here are the 3 questions that they ARE asking…

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#1 – “Will you just be real and authentic?”

#2 – “Will you please NOT judge me?”

#3 – “Will you show me how I can have life-change?”