Jesus' Down-to-Earth Love

I am very excited to begin our Advent series based on Mike Slaughter's and Rachel Billup's book called Down To Earth (Mike used to be the pastor at Ginghamsburg Church as lead pastor, Rachel is Ginghamsburg's Executive Pastor). This book has inspired our sermon series as we look at Jesus' down to earth qualities: love, humility, lifestyle, and obedience. This week we focus on Jesus' wonderful, world-changing love!

If I were to write the book on my expectation of who the son of God would be, that person would probably look like Alexander the Great, Augustus, or Winston Churchill. Great leaders who, according to human standards achieved great things. Yet, what they did pales in comparison to Jesus. He was born to a poor family and was a refugee from a powerful tyrant who desired his death. He walked everywhere he went and never wrote anything down. And he definitely never used force or violence to achieve his goals. Jesus saved our planet of this by world-changing, l…

Be the Church Sunday

It was early in my ministry career and I came across an idea in outreach magazine: cancel worship and get out into the community to do projects. It seemed like a great way to both love neighbor as you love yourself AND to make disciples.

Fast forward to my appointment this year as the pastor at Rockbridge Church and it just so happens that Rev. Wade Killough, the founding pastor at Rockbridge, had started a Be the Church Sunday. The idea was the same! One more reason that I love my appointment at Rockbridge and that we are such a good fit.

It may seem like a crazy idea, to go out into the community on a Sunday morning! What if people get mad that you don't have worship? What if a visitor shows up? Why are we doing this? I wanted to take a few moments today and explain BTC, why we do it and why you should participate!

1. Be the Church Sunday is a gathering of local churches in Cedar Park and Leander. For 2 Sundays out of the year, we live out our call to serve others by leaving the…

When faced with evil.

I have to say that when I first heard about the shooting in Sutherland, Texas, that I started to panic. What if this were to happen to my church (for those that don't know, I am the pastor of Rockbridge Church in Cedar Park)? I still have not figured out the answer to that question, and honestly, whatever the answer is, I hope I never have to put it into practice. Right now my heart is broken for this small Texas town and First Baptist Church. My heart is broken for the families who lost loved ones, especially those who lost children to this horrific attack. My heart is even broken for this young man who chose to execute people in a church. My heart breaks for our country that has more gun violence than it should.

I am not going to get into any policy suggestions because frankly, I do not know the answer to how we stop having nearly as many mass shootings as we have days in the year. I do want to be a part of the solution. So I am going to pray, invite dialogue and see where we ca…

Joseph: Dealing with success

I am continuing my read through the Bible and today's reading was about Israel moving into to Egypt because of the famine. After his happy reunion, there is a very dark passage that is easy to miss; and it partially explains the plight of the Israelites in the book of Exodus.

"Joseph said to the people, 'Since I've now purchased you are your farmland for Pharaoh, here's seed for you. Plant the seed in the land. When the crop comes in, you must give one-fifth to Pharaoh. You may keep four-fifths for yourselves, those in your households and your children.' The people said, 'you saved our lives. If you wish we will be Pharaoh's slaves. (Genesis 47:23-25)'"

One of the most painful realities in the Bible is that these great heroes often make great mistakes that end up causing immense pain. Abraham pretends his wife is his sister to get favorable treatment; Noah gets drunk; Jacob favors Joseph; Joseph sells an entire nation into slavery to Pharaoh! …

Rushing God's Plan

I believe that God has a plan for each of us. Not the 'I am puppet dangling from strings' kind of plan, but the kind where God has a vision and destination in mind for each of us. Afterall, we have work to do. The problem is that God rarely reveals all of that plan at one time. I liken it to walking in a dark room with a flashlight, we can only see to the end of the beam and we must take steps of faith before of the plan is revealed to us. If you are like me, this is incredibly frustrating! Why can't God just tell us everything?! I think that it is probably because we would definitely not go through with it if we were shown the end!

Our response is usually to rush God along and take over the job of leading for ourselves. We can do it as well as Jesus, right? Unfortunately, the answer is no we can't. There are two stories that come to mind (I recently started over reading the Bible from Genesis, forward) where heroes of the Bible did this very thing. Sarai frustrated th…

I desire mercy not sacrifice...

Some people see Jesus hanging out with the wrong crowd (sinners and tax collectors) and the Pharisees say, "Why is he hanging out with THOSE people (Matthew 9:9-13)?" Jesus response? Go read your Bible. In Hosea, the prophet says from God, "I desire mercy not sacrifice."

That may not seem like a big deal, however, when sacrifice is how your sins are forgiven, God is telling the people that the Creator cares more about compassion and forgiveness than doing that which allowed God to forgive their sins.

Jesus is reminding the Pharisees that it is more important that we love people than anything else, and all are worthy of our time, our love, our hope for redemption. Whoever you think that God has moved to the margins and excluded from God's grace, they are not. There is a place for that person, just like there is a place for you in God's kingdom. God does want us to change, to sin no more, but don't ever imagine there is a person who is past saving. No lon…

Walking in her mother's shoes

This morning, while I was getting ready, Amelia and Sophie were trying on Michelle's shoes.

It has always amused me that our little girls always want to wear their mom's shoes or dresses or jewelry. Then, one of the scriptures from this Sunday popped into my brain:
"Israel, Listen! Our God is the LORD! Only the LORD. Love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your being, and all your strength. These words that I am commanding you today must always be on your minds. Recite them to your children (Deuteronomy 6:4-7)."

And this one:

"Train your children in the way they should go; when they grow old they won't depart from it (Proverbs 22:6)."

Just like little girls like to try on their mom's shoes, they want to be just like their parents (at least early on). Our little ones are watching us! Even if you are not a parent, the young ones in your church are watching you. The scriptures tell us that it is our job to teach them about the faith! It is vita…