Monthly Archives: July 2007

Repentance…old-fashioned or biblical?

What is up?!?!!

Well…I’m having a wonderful time with my family in Greenville, SC. We are watching old family videos and all that good stuff! It is so funny to look back and see how far you’ve come. haha…

I’m up in the “bible-belt” area of the country. It is different as in how people dress, act and all that good stuff…People have been nice and it has been cool to be at my Dad’s church in Greenville. It was awesome to see people baptized and a lot of decisions. People are responding to God and many lives are being changed. It was encouraging to see that in a “bible belt church” (for those who don’t know…big steeple, organ pipes and traditional music)…

I am always wondering about what it will take for people all across America to respond to God?? Some say that we need a nice looking worship atmosphere and environment…Some say we need to have contemporary music or traditional music….Some say we need to have less preaching or more preaching…Some say we need to wear shorts, some say we need to wear ties…Honestly…it makes my head hurt! haha…

One thing I noticed today was not the dress, worship style or the environment. But it was that God’s Spirit was moving in people’s lives!!!! The sermon was about America repenting and depending upon God.

When will we as Christians quit depending upon the outward appearance and deal with our heart? Doesn’t scripture say something about this???
well…YES!!

In 1 Samuel 16:7 David is about to be anointed by Samuel. Jesse, David’s Dad was thinking that His stronger, older sons were going to be chosen for the new King…They were stronger, better qualified, had more expereience and many admirable traits that made them able to be a strong King. But Samuel answered the question of God’s chosen one with this,

“Do not look at the appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him, For the Lord does not see as a man sees, for man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

Wow… If we are to reach our community for Christ. We must always look at our heart first.
See people at the heart level. Talk to them. Listen to them. Pray for them.

When is the last time you prayed for someone? The word to pray for someone else is called, “intercession.” Many times all we do is pray for ourself.

Repentance is needed in America. It all must start with each individual believer, to ask God to move in our hearts and strrengthen us to tell others about Jesus!

If we are too focused on how the church looks…what songs we sing or don’t sing, then we are going to be focused on self-worship.

Self-worship is running rampant in today’s culture…will it seep into churches? Lord, I pray that it does not.

Dependance on God’s Spirit. We need repentace, not just a cry at the altar, but a lifetime of serving Jesus in an undying commitment to Jesus Christ. We must not focus on how to be “cool” in today’s culture. Meet people where they are at, care about them, love them, listen to their hurts and needs. The unbelieving world will find this amazing.

Share God’s grace and love with them and rely on God’s power to change lives!

Biblical? yes…Is “repentance” a cool word in the church world today? probably not…

Well…it is awesome to repent to God and depend upon Him!

2 Peter 3:9 says, “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness. but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.”

Does it say, “that we should all come to enjoying singing the songs we like at church?”….hmm…no.

Does it say “that we should all come to feeling good about ourself? hmmm….let me see…no.

It is life-change that happens in a person’s life that no longer focuses on themselves, but upon other people. Repentance is to change the way we think and act.

Will you share your faith in Jesus with other people? Just ask God for boldness to live your faith by action and heart.

Well…I’ve written enough. All of you in Jacksonville, well…I miss you and love you all. I’ll be praying for you while I’m on vacation. Please pray for me. I look forward to seeing God change lives!

Tell others about Jesus, bring them to Elevate wednesday night! Boyd is leading the service, you need to bring your friends and family that do not have a relationship with Christ.

Stay clean and close to God!

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Dude…sweeeeet

Hey cool people.

I’m going home to see family…Even though they are in Greenville, SC (definitly not home to me), wherever my family is, I call it “home.” I’m heading out tomorrow for 8 days to spend time with my parents, 3 brothers and black lab daisy.

God is so good in my life. Forgiveness. Just a quick thought. How amazing is it that Jesus forgave us of everything? Isn’t it amazing that He loves us unconditionally?!

Sweet stuff.

Upcoming Student Info!

Hey…out there in blog-land.

Just wanted to send out a few quick commercials.

Islands of Adventure is going to be sweet! August 9th!! Money is due this Sunday ($45). We are going to spend the day in Orlando, so it’ll be a blast!

“Endless Summer Rock Show” will be on Saturday, October 6th! 5 local Christian bands will lead and it will be a great outreach the students around the community! Doors open at 6:30! Concert will be awesome and I hope to see a lot of un-churched students be a part and we can reach out to them and show them God’s love. Definitly put this on your calendar!

I’m heading home to see family on Thursday, so i’m excited about hanging out with my three brothers…we’ll do some surfing, hiking, fishing, make some videos…you know. Fun stuff! It has been a long time since I’ve gotten to hang out with everyone in my family. Please pray for my little brother Jordan, he is having surgery on his leg soon.

Did I mention that God has blessed me with a great family? I’m blessed beyond measure and definitly do not deserve all that God has done for me.

Keep praying that God would start a revival in the hearts of the students at Celebration Baptist and that we would impact Jacksonville for the gospel of Jesus Christ!

Encourage students to be a part of our Elevate services on Wednesday nights @ 6:30. It is an exciting worship experience for students! This wednesday night we will be talking about “True Forgiveness” in our series on Life Hurts…God Heals. See you there!

Are people drawn to you or repelled?

One of the biggest reasons people do not follow Jesus is because some people say they they know Christ but their lifestyle does not reflect Him. The world wants authenticity! Being real about our lives is so important to build a relationship with a lost person and reach them with the life-changing message of Jesus Christ!

Do people see Jesus in you?

Is your life about Jesus?
Or is your life…Jesus?

Good questions to ponder…

It’s a beautiful day…

I’m a big fan of thursdays…it is just a cool day. Not literally because it is really hot outside. I was driving back this morning from visiting the hospital (not me, someone else) and was looking out over the St. Johns River…God is so amazing. I just drove and watched the water and land come together. What an awesome God we serve!

I’m so “busy” (in my mind) that I miss the beauty of God’s creation many times. I am so thankful that we can enjoy beautiful Florida weather every day. What a blessing!

Psalm is one of my favorite books of the Bible to read, especially in the morning.

Psalm 148:3-6 says,
“Praise Him, sun and moon; Praise Him stars of light! Praise Him highest heavens, and the waters that are above the heavens! Let them praise the name of the Lord, For He commanded and they were created. He has also established them forever and ever; He has made a decree which will not pass away.”

Islands of Adventure is coming soon! Thursday, August 9th we are heading to big O’ Town (Orlando)! $45 a person plus food money. Sign up in the Refuge, money is due July 29th! Don’t miss this trip!!!!!!!

Be at Connection groups at 9am Sunday morning! Small group Bible study is very important in growing in your walk with God!

Hurting students and the question, “why?”

Hurting students…

In the past 4 years of working with students I have heard stories of pain, struggle, depression, self-abuse, etc…Although many issues that are plaguing our country and the world with are usually summed up by people in churches saying, “well…that is just sin in the world.”

That is a true. Do we just stop there?

Why do kids cut themselves? Why do husbands/wives leave each other? Why is their so much abuse verbally and physically?

Hard questions…

God has been showing me in His word and through personal reflection that God does not want us to always have the “fix it” mentality. Is that our ultimate goal in Christianity? To just fix life?

“Fix students so they’ll always wear the right clothes, hairstyle and have perfect attendance?”

Wow…I do not have all the answers to the problems that are saturating youth culture today…but I know that students are crying out for peace when life is out of control. I want to throw out a response to the “fix people” mentality…Walk with them through the pain. Be there for them. Stop talking and…

..Listen. Listen to the deep hurts and stop talking. Listen.
Replace abandonment with authentic relationships. Hear their pain and let God’s spirit pour out of your life into theirs.

Relationships…life is summed up by it. Programs will not change a life but only facilitate a place for relationships to happen. Meeting people at their point of need is exactly the way Jesus lived out His ministry. Jesus allowed people to unveil their need without judgment. Will the world outside of the walls of our churches ever experience God’s healing? Are Christians living up to the old W.W.J.D bracelet? I’d like to rather make this statement. D.W.J.D “Do What Jesus Did.” Be Jesus. Not just what he might do, or should do. But focus on meeting each person hearing them below the surface, to the core of their need.

Jesus accepted the leper in Matthew 8. The leper said, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.” Jesus responds directly to his need. He says, “I am willing, be cleansed.” Immediately he was healed. I’m so thankful Jesus did not give him “10 way to understand life with leprosy!” He listened and met the need.

I must make a statement. Salvation is not a ticket to receive a life of no problems, perfect relationships, and no pain. Is is not praying a prayer + walk an aisle + be good + wear a tie to church = salvation. It is faith relationship with Christ. Salvation is of God, a miracle that happens when God changes a person’s everything.

Why is suffering avoided at all cost?

Jesus suffered for us, beaten with a whip covered in bone, glass, rock, etc. The 12 disciples were brutally killed for following Christ, crucified, beheaded. The early church was constantly beheaded, burned alive, thrown to the lions. How have we gotten so comfortable to try and have a pain free life?

John 8:32 says, “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

Freedom. Freedom from a life built upon self. Jesus sets us free not from problems or struggles…but to a lifetime of following Christ.

Matthew 16:24 says, “deny yourself, take up your cross and follow Me.”

Jesus is the hope for today. If you do not have a relationship with Him, I’d encourage you to speak with Him. He wants to meet with you.

Please send me any comments/suggestions/ideas for this blog. I want to find the issues surrounding students in today’s culture and go on a journey to find out the truth.

God doesn’t need you. He wants you.

Not part of you. He wants all of you.

God loves you so much.

First post…

well…now i am officially cool?! haha…

I’m Josh…Just wanted to start it off right by telling you my name.

My main goal for this blog is to share thoughts on current issues of student ministry and how to meet the needs/questions/hurts that are prevalent in today’s culture. This is not a place for me to come and share everything about myself…If you want to know me, get to know me in real life. Internet blogging is a great tool to share God’s grace, but internet by itself is not reality! I hope this will encourage others to seek God with all their heart, soul, mind and strength.

Check out the student ministry website at: http://www.elevatestudents.com

We are almost done with it and hope you find it pretty sweet!

-josh