Irony

“You don’t go where you’re wanted, you go where you’re needed.” John Piper

OK I get it now Lord.

Not sure why this resonates with me but perhaps it’s because I so often feel inadequate and a bit overwhelmed. God “needs me”? Well, not really but He does accomplish his purposes through His people. Here I am Lord..”But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you. 18So you too should be glad and rejoice with me.” – Phil 2:17-18

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Twilight Series

Below is a note I sent to our parents about the following review of the Twilight Series books and movies. As the dad of 13 & 11 year old girls and a youth minister, I am really curious as to what your thoughts are. (make sure you read the review too).

The Source for Youth Ministry Twilight Review

my e-mail to parents:

Parents – Especially MOMS.

As Wade is sharing in his Sermon Series – “Going Against the Flow”, the flow of our culture is constantly pushing against us. As time passes the current gets stronger. Satan will have us think that being “worldly” is not so bad as long as “I can put it into context” and I don’t really do “those things”. Over and over again in scripture we are reminded that so much of our battle as Christians begins in the mind. If the Evil One can just get us to marginalize our thoughts, we become easy prey (1 Peter 5:8)

Several of you have shared your concerns with me so I have been trying to inform myself (and my family). Below is a review of the most recent pop-culture rave concerning the Twilight Series books and now the movie that is coming out next week. The line in the review that grabs my attention is “Even though the Mormon author doesn’t allow Edward and Bella to have sex before marriage, she may be a bit naïve about what tends to happen when passionate teenagers get alone in a field. From the preview, the movie seems to take it a step further. In one clip, Bella is seen in her underwear kissing Edward in the bedroom. As a parent, how would you react to this reality?”

As a parent, you will have to decide if this is a cue from culture you are willing for your daughters (and sons) to take into her (his) mind. I find that the more information I have when making a decision, the better decision I can make. I hope you will take the 5 minutes it takes to read this review, to better inform yourself so that no matter what decision you make, it’s made on your principles and not what culture says is the norm.

Eph 5:3

Because of the Cross,

Mike

I can really fool myself can’t I?

On the way to dropping my kids off at school this morning, I stopped to get gas!  I paid $3.37 a gallon – quite a bargain I hear compared to some parts of the country!  I didn’t really need gas but I’ve adopted a new view of filling my tank.  It hurts less if you only have to fill up a ½ tank. 

 

You see, I’ve always figured that since I pay for my gas with a debit card, I might as well run it out and fill it up once a week or when it’s close to empty.  That’s in contrast to my college days when I would only put in about $3 or $4 dollars whenever I absolutely had to (of course gas was just a little over $1 a gallon then).  Recently, I filled my tank up from nearly empty and it cost me nearly 70 dollars!  We leased our gas-guzzling SUV blazer a few weeks before Katrina hit and I’ve been sorry ever since.  Thank goodness our lease is up in a few months – I might be able to resume eating three meals a day! 

 

With my new philosophy though, it is only costing me about $25 to $30 each trip to the pump!  That is much easier to swallow!  I feel so much better when I leave the gas station…it’s almost the same feeling I had back in the early ‘90s when gas dipped to less than 70 cents a gallon!  The problem is when I go to reconcile my checking account, I’m still spending nearly $100 a week for gas!  So I’ve just delayed my pain from the pump to the computer desk and Quicken®

 

It’s kind of like sin…oh just a little gossip, just a little backbiting.  It really doesn’t hurt to flirt with someone who’s not my spouse.  It’s just one TV show that I shouldn’t really watch, just one website I shouldn’t open.  The problem with that philosophy is no matter how small, it all adds up to a life that is not being lived for Christ – it’s being lived to indulge myself.  If I’m not careful, I can really fool myself into thinking that just because it’s people who “know me” I can say those things about someone else or just because no one else is around, I’m not really hurting anyone.  Sin is sin is sin and just because I put it in small doses doesn’t make the long-term effect any less harmful.

Because of the Cross

I always sign my letters “Because of the Cross”.   It’s a simple little thought that I started signing early in my ministry, perhaps during college and have done so ever since.

 

In class yesterday morning we talked about the sacrifice of the Father and watched a powerful mini-movie – “Most” that depicted a father’s sacrifice of his son to save many.  Looking at John 3:16-17 and Ephesians 2 we talked about the sacrifice of God’s Son on the Cross and how that sacrifice gives us new life, full life – a life that is no longer ours but belongs to God.

 

Last night seventeen of us gathered at the Hirth’s house (thanks Hirths!) to watch – at the beginning of Passion week – The Passion of the Christ.  It’s only the 2nd time I have seen the movie, and for some there it was their first.  After the movie we shared in a moving time of worship and communion with one another.  We talked about Romans 5.  In verses 8-9 Paul writes “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from the wrath of God.”  Each blow, each whip or scourge, each nail and insult that was taken by Jesus, was taken because of me.  He took my sin and because of that I can now rejoice that he has become my substitute – that was supposed to be me there.  God’s wrath was supposed to be upon me…but Jesus took it.  What a reason to rejoice!  What an awesome time we had sharing, praying, rejoicing and communing together!!!

 

Our Western Cultural view has tamed the meaning and the picture of the cross.   We paint pictures of it and we wear it as jewelry but the cross was not pretty, the cross was not “in style”.  The cross was a shameful, horrible way to die – it was costly – it cost Jesus everything.  Because of it though, God looks at me (and you) through the blood of Jesus and says “It was worth it.”  I am reminded that the little saying “Because of the Cross” isn’t just a saying…it is my life.  My life is now because of the Cross.  My marriage, my family, my house, my car, my job, my strength, my money, my hope, my joy, my peace…everything I am, everything I ever hope to be is because of what Jesus did for me on that Cross.

 

It is my prayer that our youth group will continue to come to an understanding that living for Christ will cost them everything, but it’s worth it!

 

 

Because of the Cross,

Mike

 

 

 

Mike Brown

Youth & Family Minister

Lafayette Church of Christ

115 New Ballwin Rd.

Ballwin, MO  63021

636.391.6697 – office

636.394.2338 – fax

mike.brown@lafayettechurch.org