A Do Over

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People long for a Do Over—we all sin, we all make mistakes, we all experience moments of regret.  Some are serious, others are embarrassing, while some just feel like missed opportunities—it feels like life has sailed from the dock, and we failed to get onboard. What constantly amazes me about God is that He’s a Do-Over God. Every morning is a chance to begin again with Him. And by His Grace and great Love, it’s never too late to get back on course with Him. “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22-23)

This morning, I find myself dealing with feelings of regret. I usually don’t, but for some reason, I got attacked as I set out to begin a Do Over with blogging. That may seem trivial, but I find a very important spiritual principle here for those who want to lead or develop others. There will always be moments of regret, but the best we can do in life is simply stay faithful to the Lord day by day. That I have done, so it takes away my regret and lets me experience God’s Do Over Grace this morning.

I started this Blog in 2008-2009, and then as the Nationwide commercial says, “Life came at me fast.” I felt attacked and overwhelmed (which I’m sure I’ll talk more about in future posts because “everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” 2 Tim. 3:12), but I lost motivation to blog, and with more than I could handle, I stopped.

I regret that now.  I’m starting to see how this blog could be the way to keep encouraging and raising you up —Christ-followers who experience the Life and Freedom Jesus purchased for you, and then bring that Life and Freedom to others around you.  That’s what I want to be about for the rest of my life—running alongside, empowering, encouraging, equipping you to BE HIS CHURCH and raise His Church up out of the culture like we’ve seen God do at Gateway and in Networks and churches we’ve helped start.

So this morning, I’m starting new—a blogging Do Over–but with a new focus and a new excitement because I can move forward with No Regrets. I hope this blog will keep me connected to those at Gateway Church and beyond who love the Lord, love His Church, and want to be on the front lines with Jesus—watching him change us and the world around us.  There’s no greater purpose in life than to give yourself to what He is doing in life!

So I hope to involve you in an ongoing conversation around three key subjects:

  1. Experiencing Freedom and Life – not just knowing about God, but knowing God, experiencing and doing all He says He came to give us. You can’t give what you don’t possess, and too many Christian leaders lose the Life Jesus came to give us in trying to give that life to others.
  2. Leading and Developing Others – specific principles or ideas for how to see God’s kingdom come, life by life, group by group, Network by Network, church by church. Whether you are a Christ-follower spiritually developing one or two people, a Lifegroup (or small group) leader, a Network leader (mobilizing 20-70 people), leading in a ministry (like Recovery or kids), or a Lead Pastor, there are principles of leading and developing others that I find I need to be reminded of over and over again.
  3. Engaging Culture – principles for bridging to the culture around you and doing church where you do life. Only 4% of the Millennial Generation attend church any given Sunday, so we must learn how to go to them and “be all things to all people” like Paul talked about. Only then can we help them know the Life and Freedom God longs to give them.

So I hope you will subscribe, comment, interact. God raised Christ in order to raise u up to be His body—let’s help each other live out His purposes.

Amazed

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Whenever I teach on the thread of hope God’s woven through history in the messianic prophecies, I find myself saying, “How can anyone seeing this not believe?”  But then I know most people don’t take the time to see it.  I’m praying many people with real questions will take the time to check out this series. I’m loving teaching this again, but I always find I have to leave out so much.  If you were not here for the first message, be sure to listen to it online. I talk about the amazing God of History who has written some aspects of world history in advance in ways that few could deny—all to show us that God is the one behind all this, doing it so those who truly will seek him can find him. Check it out at www.gatewaychurch.com messages online.

Foretold

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One of the great things about launching this deepen service, is it will allow us on Sunday mornings to do an even better job going after struggles in issues that people have who are just discovering faith or developing faith.  I’m pumped about our upcoming series called Thread of Hope – Prophecies of Messiah. People ask all the time, how can you know, the Scriptures are from God?  Why is believing that Jesus is the son of God, any different than believing the homeless guy claiming the same thing?  We are going to take four weeks leading up to Easter to look in depth at the way the old testament prophets foretold.  What God was going to do thousands of years before Jesus ever arrived! I will be trying to answer the skeptical “yeah but” questions along the way. Don’t miss it as it will really boost your faith, and be sure to invite friends who feel like they need reasons to believe.  It’s going to be a great series.

“Ye Suck”

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I heard Bill Maher talking about four Amish teenagers arrested for violence.  They broke windows, they overturned buggies.  They got caught because the graffiti on the silos said, “Ye Suck.” It reminded me a little of my blogging lately.  So I’m going to try to get more frequent! I’ll blame it in part on some of the new things happening around Gateway that I’m really excited about.

We’re now two weeks into launching Deepen, our Sunday 5 p.m. service–for those who want to dive deep into the Scriptures and worship to help them have a deepening impact serving the world around them. If you missed the first one, it brought me to tears. We’re studying I Thessalonians–a letter to a church full of people who just came to faith in a city that has a lot in common with Austin. Tony, our worship leader, did a phenomenal job leading us, and I kept thinking of how amazing that just a few years ago, he was closing down Sixth Street, using his musical gifts to promote drunken hedonism. As I looked around the room at those worshiping God, so many of us were in the same place, blowing their lives apart in the name of fun or success! I was overwhelmed at what God is doing here in Austin among us — the same thing He was doing in the wild partying town of Thessalonica in the first century! Go God—keep it up!

God’s Word and God’s Spirit

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I was thinking about something I said in a previous blog about God’s Spirit using God’s Word. It’s interesting to see the parallels. I find pretty often, God’s Spirit will bring to mind something I’ve read in Scripture as a way to guide or correct me. Check these out sometime and reflect on the importance of both following God’s Spirit and knowing God’s Word:

Both the Spirit and Word search the heart: Romans 8:27, Hebrews 4:12

We are indwelt by both: 1 Corinthians 3:16, Colossians 3:16

We are to be filled with both: Ephesians 5:18, Colossians 1:9-12

We are born again by both: John 3:5-7, 1 Peter 1:22-25

We are washed clean by both: Titus 3:5-6, Ephesians 5:25-27

We are sanctified (grown up spiritually) by both: 1 Peter 1:2, John 17:17

We are set free by both: Romans 8:2, John 8:31-36

We are made competent by both: 2 Corinthians 3:5-6, 2 Timothy 3:16

We find hope in both: Romans 15:13, Romans 15:4

We overcome by both: 1 John 4:4, 1 John 2:14

We find joy through both: Ephesians 5:18-19, Colossians 3:16

We stay connected, abiding in Christ by both: 1 John 3:24