Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Still Surrendering

It is hard to believe that as I type this, I am merely 18 days from completing my first year of teaching. If anything has been a spiritual battle, it has been this past year with my middle schoolers, junior highers, & high schoolers. I am slowly learning more God's unrelenting love for those who don't even know Him yet. God is also using some inspiring young men and women who are deeply in love with Him to encourage me daily and remind me of His providential care.

One of the biggest blessings that Kasey and I have received started about 7 weeks ago. Fruitland Community Church in Fruitland, MO (just north of Jackson) hired me as their worship leader. This church is truly on mission for Christ and it is humbling and exciting to be a part of such a fellowship.

I am now almost half-way through my Masters program through Liberty. After an 8-week break from classes, I am anxiously awaiting my next course. God is challenging me in many ways and reviving my spirit. I am excited to see what God has in store for this summer!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Nathanael

Over the past few weeks I have been studying Nathanael. Now, although he may sound familiar, you may not know too much about him. That could be because there is so little about him in the scriptures. In fact, he is only mentioned in the Gospel of John, twice. However, many scholars believe him to be the same person as Bartholomew, as listed in Matthew, Mark, & Luke with the other disciples. But other than his appearance with fellow disciples, we really only encounter his character once. In John 1:43-51, we are at the beginning of Jesus' Galilean ministry. Philip has gone to find Nathanael to tell Him about Christ whom he (Philip) has recently found to be the true Messiah. When Philip tells Nate that Jesus from Nazareth is the One, Nathanael responds bluntly, asking what good can come from Nazareth. But Nate decides to take a look for himself anyway. We he approaches, he is recognized by Jesus with the description of "a true Israelite, in whom there is no deceit." Wow! What a compliment. Nathanael hasn't even said anything to Him yet, and Jesus describes him as a TRUE Israelite, a TRUE believer in the body of Christ. He also indicates that Nathanael has an honest and seeking heart. There is more to this story that I may discuss later, but can you imagine being in Nate's shoes and having JESUS, IN THE FLESH look at you and say that you are a TRUE BELIEVER in the body of Christ and that in you is no deceit, but an honest and seeking heart. Nate, not really expecting much, sought out Jesus, encountered Him in a real way, and had no other response, but the amazement of finding the true Son of God. May we resemble Nathanael so that when Jesus thinks on us today he thinks, you are a true believer in whom there is no deceit, but an honest and seeking heart.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Beginning of Ministry

Have you ever thought about what the beginning of Jesus' ministry was like? Surely, being the Son of God, it would be smooth sailing, right? All the right contacts, perfect follow-up, an infallible approach with no hiccups to irritate His new ministry. Although I would quickly agree, Jesus' ministry, like Himself, was and is infallible, the beginning of Jesus' ministry, however, was quite bumpy. The first words that are quoted of Jesus is His affirmation to John the Baptist to baptize Him. (There Jesus goes again being the perfect model for a life devoted to Christ and teaching us the importance of baptism.) But the very next place we see those red words of Jesus are not the intriguing parables of chapter 13 or the Beatitudes of the Sermon on the Mount. Before Jesus' adult earthly ministry begins, Jesus is tempted. TEMPTED....by SATAN....HE HASN'T EVEN GOTTEN STARTED YET and satan is trying to tempt Jesus. Really? When God calls us into ministry, how can we even begin to expect that everything will just "fall into place" and ministry will just magically happen. Jesus Christ Himself encountered great obstacles at the beginning of His ministry.

So how did he deal with it? Let's check out chapter 4. Satan tries to tempt Jesus in three ways: physically, with power, and with prestige. Now obviously, we know Jesus doesn't give in, but look at His response. Deuteronomy 8:3; 6:16; 6:13. The Torah, the Old Testament, the scriptures He was raised to know and trust. Live on the words of God, do not test God, worship and serve Him only. I feel as though we could learn so much from these words. What if we based our ministry on this advice...living on God's Word, not testing God, but fully relying on Him and worshiping and serving Him only.

Once Jesus' teaching ministry begins we are prompted with these directions: Matthew 4:17-19.
1. Repent
2. Follow Me
3. Become fishers of Men

Isn't it interesting how this parallels with his final words in Matthew 28
1. Making disciples
2. Baptizing
3. Teaching them all I have commanded

Do you see the connection? Repent, Follow, Fish so that you can take His lead to help others Repent, Follow, & Fish. May we continue to daily strive to learn more of all that He has commanded us!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Worship with children

Today I got a closer glimpse at understanding what Jesus is talking about in Luke 18:16 when He says not to hinder the children from coming to Him because the Kingdom of God belongs to "such as these." Today the children's ministry at CrossRoads started a focus on Worship. Specifically today we focused on the nations bringing glory to God.

Psalm 117: "Praise the Lord, all you nations...and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever..."
We sang God You Reign which was awesome because in the chorus the kids have the opportunity to sing "God You Reign" in 3 different languages...it was hysterical, but cool.

Psalm 136: "His love endures forever!"
Of course, we had to sing Chris Tomlin's "Forever." The kids really love this one

Psalm 118:124: "This is the day the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it!"
Today is the Day is a song these kids love. We learned it at VBS and it is such an easy way for them to memorize scripture. Each day we should treasure because it is of the Lord's divine blessings and wants us to be joyful in it for His glory. And the kids love the "oh, oh, oh, oh" part in the beginning. :)

BUT THEN...here's the moment you've been waiting for...my glimpse.
Hosanna (Praise is Rising). The kids love this song, but what is really moving is that I didn't not even prompt them to sing louder. Normally, since they are tired and may not know the song very well, they can half-heartedly mumble the words. But they were gloriously uplifting "Hosanna! Hosanna!" It was at that moment that I caught the glimpse. The kids are learning, they don't even fully know what Hosanna means, despite the delivery of my academic musings. :) But they do know it is a name for the Lord. What if we, even when we didn't fully understand, unashamedly, with an uninhibited or distracted nature shouted out in song with one another..."Hosanna, Hosanna, You are the God who saves us, worthy of all our praises!" I got it. Many times we strive to be like the smarter and wiser ones, but what if, on occasion we tried emulating the heart and passion of a child.

With a mini-lesson on the wise men's worship of baby Jesus and a charge to "Tell the World," the kids and I BOTH gained a better understanding of God's call on our lives. Now, Go...and Tell...because He is the God who saves us and is worthy of all our praises.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Sing a new song

Think of this as a "new song." New design, new title, new information, a new song. God is calling Kasey and I into a new ministry for His glory. We are excited, anxious, a little nervous, and completely surrendered. Stay tuned for more updates!

Love,
Jordan

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Friday, March 19, 2010

Tozer said it all!

This past week I have been listening to an expository preaching conference downloaded from itunesU. While listening to David Platt speak on theological foundations for text-driven preaching, he quoted Tozer saying the following.

"In my opinion, the great single need of the moment is that light-hearted superficial religionists be struck down with a vision of God high and lifted up with His train filling the temple. The holy art of worship seems to of passed away like the Shekinah glory from the tabernacle, as a result we are left to our own devices and forced to make up the lack of spontaneous worship by bringing in countless, cheap, and tawdry activities to hold the attention of the church people."

Platt went on to say (paraphrased), "the greatness of God is sufficient enough to hold one's attention."

If only we preached and shared the gospel true to God's greatness and glory. To God be glory forever and ever! Preach the Word and there will be no need to say anything else.