New Year Re:Solution

Quotes and highlights from Chapel, January 5, 2018.

happy new year

The beginning of January is the time of year where we get to reset our lives in a sense.  This is the time of year where we get to rethink and replan who we are and what we’re doing… it’s the New Year and with that comes New Year resolutions; those things that you declare you will do or not do during the year.  Things like: eat better, eat less sugar and fat, or exercise more, not be so lazy, whatever!

Think for a moment… What are your New Year Resolutions?  What if anything is possible, what would your resolutions be then?

Above all, I want you to understand that the “solution” to any question, issue, conflict, or need you have now or will ever have is found in someway through a connection with Christ Jesus.  Making a resolution (whether it’s a new year or on any day) is fine, but so many people do it without tapping into the power necessary to see it through.

What I want to share with you is this idea…

Philippians 4:13  NKJV                                                                                                                    13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

What does this mean?

Philippians 4:13 means we are able to face this world and keep moving forward.  When the world knocks us down or puts up an obstacle we’re able to get up or climb over it.  But I also think it means that in divine moments (moments where God calls us to something extraordinary) we have the ability to tap into unbelievable power.

If you ask King David, Philippians 4:13 means you can face any giant.  If you ask the disciples it means you can weather any storm.  If you ask Gideon it means you can defeat your enemies, no matter how big their army is or how small your army is.  If you ask Peter it means you can do the impossible, like walk on water.  If you ask Jesus it means life never ends.  Can you imagine that kind of power… so amazing!

What if anything was possible… what would you do this year?

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Stranger Things (Part 1)

Quotes and highlights from Chapel, December 1, 2017.

Stranger_Things_logo

We like the familiar.  We like things that confirm what we know or agree with what we think.  But there are things out there that are just weird or strange to us because it doesn’t fit the norm.   The Bible is full of “stranger things”.  We are going to talk about a scene in the bible that is a little strange!  Not too weird, just a little strange.

Several nations had formed an alliance to fight Joshua and the Israelites.  People had heard of Joshua coming and they were afraid of him, they were afraid of the Israelite army.  They had heard how he had defeated Jericho so they were preparing to fight.

Well, one nation was determined not to fight the Israelites so they did something strange, something weird…

Joshua 9:3-6  NLT                                                                                                                           But when the people of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and Ai, they resorted to deception to save themselves. They sent ambassadors to Joshua, loading their donkeys with weathered saddlebags and old, patched wineskins. They put on worn-out, patched sandals and ragged clothes. And the bread they took with them was dry and moldy. When they arrived at the camp of Israel at Gilgal, they told Joshua and the men of Israel, “We have come from a distant land to ask you to make a peace treaty with us.”

No one likes to be lied to, it’s painful, you feel betrayed… the Israelites did not like being lied to either.  About three days into this peace treaty Joshua and the Israelites found out that the Gibeonites had deceived them.  The Israelites were ready to kill them, but because of their oath they did not harm them.  They did however keep them as servants as woodcutters and water carriers from then on.  But the Israelites kept peace with them and even fought for them when they were attacked later by the Amorites.

What are we going to take away from this story?  The Gibeonites deceive the Israelites so one lesson could be, “Don’t lie!  You could wind up enslaved.”  If that’s all you get today, that’s cool, that’s a good lesson.  But I think there is a better message for us… “Don’t trust your own sight.”

Life is trying to trick us constantly!  We can’t trust what we see right in front of us.  Joshua didn’t seek God’s wisdom but went off of what he saw and he was tricked into believing that the Gibeonites were travelers from far away.

I know this sounds weird but going through life hoping for the best on your own wisdom is crazy!  We live in a world that pushes us to trust in our own intuitions and snap judgements… but, there’s a better way!  Seek the counsel of God.  Pray!  Soak your life in prayer!  If anyone has the answers out there it makes sense that it’s the Creator.

Thank Full!

Quotes and highlights from Chapel, November 22, 2017.

black friday

The Thanksgiving season is a time of the year we are supposed to really focus on being thankful.  It’s hard to do that when the very next day is Black Friday!  It is amazing just how quickly we can go from being thankful to just plain ugly towards each other.

Being thankful can be a difficult thing to do when you hit life.  Life is hard at times, it seems almost impossible to be thankful when you get back to the real world.  We have good times, we have bad times, but Paul instructs us to live life the following way…

1 Thessalonians 5:18 NIV                                                                                                        18 Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

In all situations and circumstances Paul says to give thanks.  What he means is to be thankful in the good times and the bad times.

The most surprising thing we all are always amazed at on LASA Trips is the fact that the people we visit, especially the kids, are always extremely joyful and happy.  They are thankful for what they have and they are content in life.  They have very little but they seem so happy.  They are thank full!

Looking back at our verse the thing to notice is that it reads “In all circumstances”, not “for all circumstances”.  We don’t have to be thankful for the bad things happening to us and around us, but Paul is telling us to be thankful while we are going through the bad times.  It’s easier to accept when things go bad afterwards when we learn something or our situation improves; but Paul instructs us to be thankful in the midst of the bad stuff.  Now that is difficult but it is doable!

Being thankful is just not ingrained in us… and it ought to be, it actually should come pretty easy to us.

No matter what is going on praise God, you’re alive, you’re breathing, you are loved, God has given you a path to eternity.  You are blessed people in so many ways… yes, you may still have things going on in your life that are horrible, but all that will pass.

Being thankful all the time isn’t easy. It requires work and sometimes we may have to go out of our way to really find that path to be thankful. We have to learn to look beyond the situation we’re in or we just need to focus on the blessings God has given to us, either way you can be thankful in every situation.

Practice Thankfulness.  Live it!  Because the more thankful you are, I believe, the more joyful you become!   Thank full lives lead to joy full lives!

We know John Stockton, but who is James LeBron?

Quotes and highlights from Chapel, November 14, 2017.

johnstocktonbuzzerbeater

 

In basketball, and most sports, consistency is über important.  Consistency separates the good players from the great players.  The most consistent player in NBA history is arguably… John Stockton, point guard for the Utah Jazz from 1984-2003.

If something is consistent or constant you can rely on it.  The Utah Jazz heavily relied on John Stockton.

God is constant!… specifically, in his attributes, in his nature.  Unlike me who kept calling LeBron James, James LeBron (James sounds more like a first name than LeBron, sorry).

Psalm 102:25-27  NLT
25 
Long ago you laid the foundation of the earth and made the heavens with your hands.  26 They will perish, but you remain forever; they will wear out like old clothing. You will change them like a garment and discard them.  27 But you are always the same; you will live forever.

“God neither evolves, grows or improves; nor does He mature or deteriorate.  He neither changes for the better or the worse, for He is perfect.  All that God is within Himself does not change.  Therefore, God’s attributes never change.  His power stays infinitely strong; His knowledge is infinitely true; His love stays infinitely constant; His Holiness stays infinitely pure and His glory never diminishes.”                                                                                                                                                                                                           – Dr.
 Jack
 L. 
Arnold

God is Constant!  We hear this throughout scripture…

Jeremiah 31:3  NLT                                                                                                                    Long ago the Lord said to Israel: “I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love.  With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself.

He loves you with an everlasting love, his love is constant!

1 Samuel 2:2  NLT                                                                                                                           No one is holy like the Lord!  There is no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God.

He is holy.  He will never act counter to that nature.  It’s a constant!

We need something in our life that is absolutely constant, something that we can rely on without question.  When we go through rough times we need something we can hold onto that won’t shift or move.  Something that will always be there for us.  That’s God… God is constant!  And because he is constant you can trust him.

[photo taken from http://saltcityhoops.com/52-john-stockton-memories/]

 

Would you do anything for a friend?

Quotes and highlights from Chapel, November 6, 2017.

Tarantula Species Hairy Animal Spider Nature

Like allow a tarantula to be placed on your head?  Jeremy Shin did for his friend Jeff Chou!  Sort of.  He also danced and ate a donut smothered in hot sauce.

Studies show that today’s generation has difficulty developing deep meaningful relationships… one of the reasons stated why that happens is because social media has stunted that growth.  Conversations are short, not very deep, people tend to be distracted or have a hard time being present.  But this isn’t just an issue with today’s generation, it’s an issue many of us have when building deep relationships.

John 15:12-15  NLT

12 This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. 13 There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me.

Jesus had some incredibly deep relationship with 12 guys, his disciples.  And we see in this passage some keys to being in a deep relationship with others: love as he loved, which is to say to be truly dedicated to others (Jesus loved his friends to death, literally); do things for each other, especially when a friend is in need; friendships are built on trust so confide in your friends.

But what we learn more importantly from this passage is that God is personal.  Jesus died on the Cross, in the hope that you would know him personally.

God is a living God, a God that is actively involved in our day to day life, a God that listens and speaks to us, a God that blesses us and gives us good gifts.

If you are going to invest in a relationship then do it with someone who will surely be personal!  Someone who understands the value of it.  Someone who is truly willing to invest back into you… God is wanting to be personal with you, he’s all in (he invested the life of his son into you).

He’s invested in you!

 

Storms are Coming!

Quotes and highlights from Chapel, October 26, 2017.

anchor 1

When hurricane Irma developed into a category 5 storm on September 5, she became the strongest Atlantic Ocean Hurricane on record at 175 mph winds.  She eventually got up to winds of 185 mph (297 km), but she was only moving 14 to 16 miles every hour.  That’s a lot of destructive force sitting on top of you.  You get a lot of warning with a hurricane, but it was so massive and destructive, 134 people still died.

While I was in Florida back in September I did not just go through Hurricane Irma… there were a couple of other types of storms brewing, not all storms come from nature, some come from life.  We all have to face storms at some point in life.  We all go through difficult and challenging moments eventually.  How do we weather the storms of life?

We need anchors in our life to help us along… to keep us steady.

King David had several low points in his life: he was chased by King Saul who was trying to kill him, he got into trouble with Bathsheba and he killed her husband, his son rebelled against him and tried to take his crown.  David went through some storms!

Psalm 32:7  NIV
You are my hiding place;
you will protect me from trouble
and surround me with songs of deliverance.

When David faced his storms, he turned to God for comfort and for strength.  God was his anchor.  God kept him steady!  God protected him while in trouble, he delivered him through the storm.  God hid him from devastation.

You’re going to face storms in your life, you are going to want some anchors.  Nothing is stronger than the anchor of Christ Jesus.  Anchors are there to help hold you steady and to reassure you that you are going to make it through the storms… that’s Jesus!

 

Wheel of Fun? More like Wheel of Death!

Quotes and highlights from Chapel, August 21, 2017.

wheel of fun 2One of the last times I think I was really still was at Disney’s California Adventure theme park.  Crazy to think anyone could be still at Disney.  My family and I were on the “Wheel of Fun”, but this was no ordinary Ferris Wheel… this was the scariest Ferris Wheel I have ever been on!  I’m confused at why it is at Disney, home of cute and fluffy.  It looks cute and fun, but it’s not.  It even has Mickey on the ride… I hate Mickey!  We didn’t just go around in a big circle in a bucket, it had tracks for each bucket.  So, when we got to the right angle, we would slide down that track.  That took us by surprise the first time it happened.  I tried to play it off like it was no big deal, but I sat there extremely still.

Psalm 46:10  NLT
“Be still, and know that I am God.”

If we could have only one question ever answered for us I think this is the question most people would want to know for sure.  Is God real?  Does God exist?  This is a question that we wrestle with, because God, in his wisdom, generally does not reveal himself today in some dramatic way, at least not like he did with Moses… a burning bush, pillars of fire and smoke, parting the Red Sea.

I think this verse becomes important for us as we try to know God because Psalm 46:10 gives us a clue how to connect with God… by being still.  Being still is not just about being quiet, it’s more about disconnecting from distractions and getting focused on the eternal (the stuff of God).  It’s about ceasing the frantic activity that seems to fill our world.

God is!  And he wants you to know that.  If you are searching for God and wanting to connect to him, more often than not that connection will be in those quiet, still, calm moments of your life and not in the loud boisterous frantic moments.

If you are wanting to know God than be still, settle down, be at peace, and listen closely… he will speak.