Category Archives: Ministry

Confessions

Lately, I’ve been feeling this incredible urge to get away from people. I feel like I’ve wasted my life sometimes. I don’t want to see how much time I’ve spent watching television or sitting on the computer browsing Facebook or doing other meaningless tasks. I’m tired of living an empty life. I’m tired of seeking relationships that go nowhere. I’m tired of going to church and singing songs while the collective congregation drives past the hobbling man on the street trying to put him out of their minds.

I feel like if this is all life is then I don’t want it. I don’t want the fairy tale life with a wife and three kids and a nine to five job. I want to live. I want to enjoy my work and I want to work hard. It seems like there’s no more wilderness. No place to get away from civilization. With technology people can invade your life whenever they want.

Besides that I feel like our society is lukewarm but were so used to it that we have no idea want the alternative would feel like. We think we’re living the gospel but we can’t remember the last time we’ve shared it. We act like were pure but go home and watch porn.

If that wasn’t enough it seems like the only motivator we have is enjoyment. If we can’t find some way to enjoy something or we can’t have fun then we don’t usually do it. Everything has to be “fun.” Hedonism at its finest.

When Jesus tells the rich man to give everything he owns to the pour and follow him, I think he was talking to us. Sure we’ve obeyed all the commandments and we’ve appear stainless before others but God knows our hearts. He knows the deep down desires we try to endlessly satisfy only to be left craving more. It seems like we’re the rich many.

We hang so tightly onto this life that we loose it. How many of us could give up all we had to follow Christ? That doesn’t mean that we become bums on the streets. We still go to work and we still have things that we own but we make a mission of giving instead of getting.

Its said that giving is better than receiving. As a musician I would much rather write and play a song for somebody than listen to a song. This must prove true it all the other areas of our lives. I’m sure giving away our useless clothes will feel better than buying an expensive brand new outfit. Our lives were meant to be poured out not filled up. Whats the point of continually living for yourself. You’ll never be happy. We as Christians should live for others. The bible says to love God and love your neighbor as yourself.

I either have weird way of loving myself or I don’t know my neighbor. As Christians we should make the world a better place, not add to the noise. Its sad to see the way our economy is heading. I’m not talking about jobs, but the general mindset that we have to getting something. I truly believe with all my heart that the only thing that will practically help this economy is cheerfully, unreserved giving. We shouldn’t steal from the rich and we shouldn’t ignore the poor. We as Christians should lead by example and give ourselves away. Then the world will see what makes us different.

Lately I’ve been fasting and praying trying to get closer to God but I can’t figure out why I’m not getting any response. I feel like I put all my effort into reaching Him but it feels like I’m being ignored. Awhile ago I circled this verse in my bible and I came back to it recently. Have I been letting the oppressed go free? Have I been feeding the hungry and giving shelter to the homeless? God isn’t asking for our works, but if we have any faith at all it should reveal itself in our works. Faith without works is dead.

Isaiah 58

New Living Translation (NLT)

True and False Worship

58 “Shout with the voice of a trumpet blast.
Shout aloud! Don’t be timid.
Tell my people Israel[a] of their sins!
    Yet they act so pious!
They come to the Temple every day
and seem delighted to learn all about me.
They act like a righteous nation
that would never abandon the laws of its God.
They ask me to take action on their behalf,
pretending they want to be near me.
‘We have fasted before you!’ they say.
‘Why aren’t you impressed?
We have been very hard on ourselves,
and you don’t even notice it!’

“I will tell you why!” I respond.
“It’s because you are fasting to please yourselves.
Even while you fast,
you keep oppressing your workers.
What good is fasting
when you keep on fighting and quarreling?
This kind of fasting
will never get you anywhere with me.
You humble yourselves
by going through the motions of penance,
bowing your heads
like reeds bending in the wind.
You dress in burlap
and cover yourselves with ashes.
Is this what you call fasting?
Do you really think this will please the Lord?

“No, this is the kind of fasting I want:
Free those who are wrongly imprisoned;
lighten the burden of those who work for you.
Let the oppressed go free,
and remove the chains that bind people.
Share your food with the hungry,
and give shelter to the homeless.
Give clothes to those who need them,
and do not hide from relatives who need your help.

“Then your salvation will come like the dawn,
and your wounds will quickly heal.
Your godliness will lead you forward,
and the glory of the Lord will protect you from behind.
Then when you call, the Lord will answer.
‘Yes, I am here,’ he will quickly reply.

“Remove the heavy yoke of oppression.
Stop pointing your finger and spreading vicious rumors!
10 Feed the hungry,
and help those in trouble.
Then your light will shine out from the darkness,
and the darkness around you will be as bright as noon.
11 The Lord will guide you continually,
giving you water when you are dry
and restoring your strength.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
like an ever-flowing spring.
12 Some of you will rebuild the deserted ruins of your cities.
Then you will be known as a rebuilder of walls
and a restorer of homes.

13 “Keep the Sabbath day holy.
Don’t pursue your own interests on that day,
but enjoy the Sabbath
and speak of it with delight as the Lord’s holy day.
Honor the Sabbath in everything you do on that day,
and don’t follow your own desires or talk idly.
14 Then the Lord will be your delight.
I will give you great honor
and satisfy you with the inheritance I promised to your ancestor Jacob.
I, the Lord, have spoken!”

I pray that we can wake up before its too late. I pray that we can be the church that God wants from us and that we can overcome the lukewarmness around us. I pray this for myself just as much. I want to be a worshiper in spirit and truth not in name only.

-Jake

Here’s some good Hip Hop.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=78MXG7NEE2M

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TR3h2qbJERw

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Ministry is like Giving Birth; If your not Ready, Keep it in your Pants

Note: I apologize for the following content. Its not my place to convict, I simply yearn to share whats been on my heart.

How many of us have yearned to see the next “great” revival? To see hundreds, thousands and even millions come to know Christ? How many times have we cried hoping that our generation would change its ways and honor the Lord? Often we dream these things but how often do we count the cost of making it happen? Are we ready to sacrifice our end of the bargain?

I, luckily, have never had the privilege of giving birth, but from want I hear, the process isn’t at all painless or quick. It’s an incredibly long journey that is only rewarded after months of pain, emotion and struggle. Our ministries are very similar. Realize that we are responsible for bringing new spiritual life into being but it’s going to cost us something in return. When we read Revelations where Christ is criticizing the churches I found a particular quote that hits my heart hard:

Revelations 3:14-22

To the church of Laodicea write:
These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see. Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me. To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne. Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”

Many of us look at successful pastors, worship leaders, mentors and think, “I really wish I could have what they have. You know what? I could really see myself doing what they do.” Then we proceed to get involved and before long we start seeing some sort of fruit from our ministry. Then the inevitable happens. Life happens. Soon our ministry becomes crowded out by relationships, work, education, family obligations, etc. Before long our ministry dwindles down to an effectiveness of nothing.

When we say that we want those things that the godly people we admire do, do we really count the cost? When the disciples James and John said that they wanted to sit on either side of Jesus, did they really know from what cup they were going to drink? Lately I’ve found an upsetting trend in churches among the college age group. Many of them are eager and excited to jump into ministry but soon the “weeds of life” crowd out their opportunities and they end up either getting sucked up into laissez-faire Christianity, or turning back but not after twenty years of their life have gone by. Of course this isn’t always the case but it is starting to become a real pet peeve of mine and one that I’m especially warring with in my own personal life.

Too often our carnal desires get the best of us and steal us away from God’s destiny for our life. Suddenly, in a moment we find our godly selves at war with our animal selves. Are we going to subdue our flesh and choose what is godly or yield to the flesh and reduce ourselves to animals? In the story of Gideon we see a perfect example. When Israel was under attack, God choose Gideon to lead the Israelites to victory. Before God could do this he had to make sure that they would know that He accomplished it. To do this he removed the majority of men from the military service. Now there is an important detail that the bible tells us. Notice how the men were chosen:

Judges 7:2-8

The Lord said to Gideon, “The people with you are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hand, lestIsraelboast over me, saying, ‘My own hand has saved me.’ Now therefore proclaim in the ears of the people, saying, ‘Whoever is fearful and trembling, let him return home and hurry away fromMountGilead.’” Then 22,000 of the people returned, and 10,000 remained.

And the Lord said to Gideon, “The people are still too many. Take them down to the water, and I will test them for you there, and anyone of whom I say to you, ‘This one shall go with you,’ shall go with you, and anyone of whom I say to you, ‘This one shall not go with you,’ shall not go.” So he brought the people down to the water. And the Lord said to Gideon, “Every one who laps the water with his tongue, as a dog laps, you shall set by himself. Likewise, every one who kneels down to drink.” And the number of those who lapped, putting their hands to their mouths, was 300 men, but all the rest of the people knelt down to drink water. And the Lord said to Gideon, “With the 300 men who lapped I will save you and give the Midianites into your hand, and let all the others go every man to his home.” So the people took provisions in their hands, and their trumpets. And he sent all the rest of Israel every man to his tent, but retained the 300 men. And the camp of Midian was below him in the valley.

Notice that the three hundred men who God chose took water to their mouth and lapped it up, while the majority knelt down to drink the water. I get two different images from this. One is of a bold warrior using his hands to hold the water and bring it to his face. The other is of an antelope kneeling down to the water to get a drink. In other words I get the image of a small band of warriors who were wholly committed to retaining there godliness and a large amount who acted more like animals. What about the lapping of dogs comment? Certainly using your hands and lapping like a dog is more “human” then kneeling over the water!

What I’m trying to point at is that our earthly desires often try to put themselves where God should be reserved. I’m not saying that it’s wrong to have earthly or “animal” desires to do things but that we should put them in their proper places.

Matthew 6:33

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

Jesus says this after immediately talking about concerns as far as food, clothing, worries, etc. As Christians we are all asked to take part in “ministry,” whether it’s your work place, your school, your church, your family, etc. Let’s realize that this is for the long haul and that we should never give up when it feels tough or when it seems like there are be other things we want to be doing. Jesus has given us his kingdom and as good subjects we should seek to uphold and maintain it. Let’s stop worrying about who we should marry, where we should work or what to major in. If we make God’s kingdom a priority we have to trust that he’ll make a way. I’ll make it my prayer that we do not become “lukewarm” in our obligations to God but that we will become over comers! That we will refresh God’s people with something new being brought into the world.

We want a revival, so lets start counting the costs.

Jake,

Thoughts and proofreading added by Chris from http://thevagabondcartographer.wordpress.com/

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