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11.30.2006

resting in the Father's strength

Last night was my night to watch the kids at our home group. Most of the older kids were pretty well taken care of, but my daughter Abby was getting a bit fussy. I took her into the back room and rocked her to sleep. She totally crashed against my chest and I sat there for about an hour just holding her while she rested. As I held her and thought and prayed, I realized that this was a perfect picture of my relationship with God.

My relationship with God is not based on my effort or striving. It's not based on my performance of good things and my avoidance of bad things. It's based completely on my resting in the strong arms of God and what he's done for me through the gospel. Jesus said, "Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 18:3-4).

May we constantly rest in the goodness and strength of our mighty God who has rescued and adopted us into his family.

11.29.2006

chili cook-off THIS WEEKEND!

This Saturday night at 6:00pm will be the second Gilbert Chili Cook-off & Smores night. The first, a few weeks ago was a blast, and this weekend should be the same. Invite your family and friends and come out for a fun night around the bonfire. Here are the details:
  • 6:00-8:30pm at the Malm's (MAP)
  • Bring either a pot of your best chili or a drink to share (we'll have prize for the chili that's voted the best)
  • We'll have a bounce-house for the kids, ping-pong, air hockey, a horse, and a beautiful bonfire.
It should be a great night!

11.28.2006

success in marriage

This morning we had a wonderful time in Men's Fellowship, discussing the issue of Marriage. We've been pulling some key things out of Tommy Nelson's book, The 12 Essentials of Godly Success and it has been a real blessing. This morning we talked about seven foundational actions for true success in marriage. The basis for all of these is an understanding that you can be selfless only because Jesus Christ has been selfless for you.

This has been a good list to meditate on, repent over, and focus on as I seek to love Molly more faithfully:

1. Are you courteous?
2. Do you esteem your spouse?
3. Do you communicate?
4. Do you spend quality & quantity time together?
5. Do you fight clean?
6. Do you trust one another?
7. Do you create romance?

I'll conclude with a quote from Nelson's book: "Great marriages are an exclusive club--only the selfless can be members." (154)

11.15.2006

back from mexico

Well, it was a fun and encouraging time in Rocky Point this past weekend for the EVBC people who worked to successfully build 4 houses. We worked hard, slept hard, and prayed hard for God to use our work for his glory.

Here are some lessons from the trip:

God is glorified through the proclamation of the gospel

Each team had at least one Spanish-speaker and had multiple opportunities to share with people about the good news of salvation through Jesus.

God has many people who are doing ministry for his name and glory

There were dozens of churches involved through Amor Ministries who were all working to build houses, minister to the poor, and strengthen the local churches in Rocky Point.

It's easy to serve God for the wrong reasons

I found myself constantly tempted to pat myself on the back for being involved in this trip, as though God would love me more because I was serving. Instead, I tried to remember that I am loved and accepted by God because of Jesus' work on the cross and that I can now serve out of gratitude and joy.

It's hard not to hate bikers who cut in line at the border

The biggest downer of the trip was the 3-hour wait in line at the border, thanks to thousands of bikers who were rallying in Rocky Point, all of whom felt they had the right to cut the line by going off to the edges, between cars, etc. I do not like injustice and cheating, especially when it decreases my comfort or hinders my plans, so it was quite tempting to hate these people and all who ride motorcycles. But, if I had an opportunity, I probably would have cut everyone else off too, so I guess I'm kind of hypocritical.

The beauty and grace of God is extended to all peoples and nations all over the world

God makes his power and glory known through things like the beautiful sunset we had on Saturday night, and through his faithful servants who tell others about Jesus. God is not American or white. He is the King of the universe and he intends to save people from all over the globe. Awesome.

11.09.2006

off to mexico

Tomorrow, nearly 100 people from East Valley Bible Church (50 or so from Gilbert) will go to Mexico to build some homes through Amor Ministries. The idea is to build homes for families in local churches there, so that as the families are strengthened the churches are strengthened. It should be a lot of fun, lots of hard work (including mixing our own concrete), and a great opportunity to demonstrate the love of Jesus Christ in a practical way. If you think of it, please pray for us in the following ways:
  1. That we would serve in the strength God supplies so that he'll get all the glory (1 Pet. 4:11)
  2. That we would have safe travel across the border and while we're there
  3. That God would create a ripple effect of ministry and care to people through the houses that get built
To learn more about what we're doing, visit www.casadeamor.com. Also, check out some videos about the projects we'll be doing here (my favorite is "The Mission Trip").

11.07.2006

the right to vote

I just spoke with a dear friend who voted this morning. He told me that he can't help but tear up whenever he leaves the polling place because he thinks about the sacrifice that has been made to secure his right to vote. While some may think that's over-sentimental, I think it's appropriate.

Our right to vote in this country is one of the major things that makes America great. I thank God that I get to have a voice in the formation of government and policy.

Today's the day...go vote!

11.06.2006

the idol of comfort

One of the dearest idols in my life has to be my own comfort. When situations or events happen that impair my comfort, I am not happy about it. In my heart I grumble, complain, and think, "I deserve better than that!" I am trying to repent each day for this self-destructive love of self, and I'm encouraged in the journey by Philippians 2:3-11:

3 Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
I thank God for providing a Savior who didn't live for his comfort, but made himself supremely uncomfortable so that I will experience everlasting comfort in his presence.

11.02.2006

how to attend church without being confronted by the gospel

I'd encourage you to check out this thought provoking and challenging call by my friend and pastor of Vital Impact College Ministry, Chris Gonzalez.

walking for diabetes

If you know anybody that has Type 1 Juvenile Diabetes, you know that it can be a challenging way to live. Especially for parents of kids with diabetes, keeping track of blood sugar levels and all that goes with it takes lots of energy and attentiveness. Sadly, there is still no cure for Type 1 Juvenile Diabetes. Therefore, this Saturday morning I'll be walking in the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) "Walk to Cure Diabetes" at Tempe Town Lake.

There is an East Valley Bible Church team, so if you'd like to participate it's not too late. If you'd like to donate money for research that might help develop a cure, click here.