Thursday, September 2, 2010
See, before I went to Ecola Bible School, I spent time praying and studying the bible every day. Every day during bible school I prayed and spent time in the Word. Since then, it has been a constant struggle.
I have heard from so many people, "Man, I wish I was in full time ministry. Just thinking of the fact that I can study the bible as my job is amazing." What they don't realize is that being in ministry makes it harder to read the bible for yourself. It is a constant battle.
Recently I have been convicted.
Convicted over my lack of spending legitimate time with Jesus.
I heard God ask me, not in an audible voice, but a voice in my spirit, "Branden, do you love me?" "Of course I love you, look at how I serve you and preach your word" "Then why don't you spend time with me" Then, a dagger just shot through my heart. I realized I had neglected HIM for his work. Did I listen? No. I continued on my merry way. Shortly after, we had the same conversation. Same result. Finally, about a month and a half ago I heard "Branden, do you love me?" and for the first time I was able to answer honestly. "No Lord, I don't." I mean, don't get me wrong, I love Jesus. He is my life and my salvation, but do I LOVE him? No.
I had lost my first love.
My conversation with Jesus might sound familiar because it is the very same conversation Jesus has with Peter at the end of the book of John. He asks him three times if he loves him. Then he responds with, "then feed my sheep (or lambs)" I had those backward. I was feeding the sheep without truly loving Jesus like my soul needed.
So, my journey for the past month or two has been just diving into HIM.
So, I ask, do you LOVE him? Have you neglected your first love for something else?
On a side note, I have really had the sense that God is going to do something big. I have a sense of revival and that he is going to legitimately raise up a generation to change the world. I get the sense that it is going to happen soon. Will you join me in seeking the face of God to be instruments in his work?
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
This morning she was watching a photography conference on the internet (I would rather watch paint dry) but while I was getting ready the guy speaking said something that struck a chord in me. He said "the bride and groom spend almost $10,000 on their wedding but when it comes to photography always skimp”.
Isn't that so true though? I was like that. Thank goodness my wife knew better.
Let's think through this logically.
The cake is about $500-Temporary
The reception $3,000-$5,000- Maybe 2 hours long
The decorations $500-Temporary
The dress $500-$1,000 (for normal people, some spend tens of thousands)-You wear it once
The tux- $100- Rented, temporary
The misc stuff- $500-temporary
The Honeymoon- At least $2000-1-2 weeks of your life
Most weddings on the conservative end run around $10,000
So, we spend unbelievable amounts of money on all of the things that give us what? You might get a great experience, maybe some good food, a great cake, and some sweet memories, but what do you have left when it’s all over? NOTHING.
When it comes to the one thing that will last the rest of our lives, what do we do? We get the cheapest photographer we can find that, at best, will give us some photos that resemble a wedding album circa 1980. I have heard countless couples say, “The one thing I regret about my wedding is that we skimped on photography”. Why, because it’s the one thing that we have to show for our weddings. It is the one thing that will last us the rest of our lives and yet we give the least amount to it...
Wedding photography I like our lives. We are so consumed with the temporary and fleeting world that we will not look just a tiny bit into the future to see what truly matters.
The bible equates the relationship with Jesus and his Church (you and I) as a wedding. Our relationship with Jesus is a wedding ceremony. Our lives are the preparation for the wedding feast.
What do we do with this preparation? We spend the bulk of our time, talent, energy, and money on things that are fleeting like cars, homes, clothes, ipods, tv's, popularity, parties, and to pay for it all we work ourselves into oblivion. Meanwhile, we spend the least amount of time, energy, and money on the one thing that lasts forever, the advancement of the kingdom of God. The bride of Christ has ONE purpose that all of our little purposes filter through. That purpose is advancing the kingdom of God by living our lives on mission and sharing Christ with the hurting and broken world. What we do give all of our money to is creating awesome memories and living comfortable lives so that, at best, we can live in mediocrity.
I was talking with a guy the other day that has been a Christian his entire life. I asked him what his purpose in life was. He told me "My purpose is to be more like Jesus and be a good Dad". Though those things are not bad, they are just mini purposes in the midst of the greater purpose. I think he missed the point.
Our purpose in this life is to live on mission. We are called to be ministers of reconciliation reaching out the lost and broken world. There are appx 5 billion people on this planet that are in search for something more. They are broken and with out hope.
To have killer pictures at the end of your wedding means you might have to sacrifice something temporary. It costs money to have an amazing photographer. Likewise, to live a life on mission will have a cost too. You might have to give up something temporary to have something to show for all eternity.
We will all stand before Jesus one day and I don’t know about you, but in that moment, when I am surrounded with the people who came to know Christ through the mission he set me on, I want look back on the album of my life and say “It was so worth it to spend so much on my photography”.
Friday, April 2, 2010
For the first followers of Christ that day was not good.
This was a brutal day when all hope was dashed. Hope for your future, hope for your nations future, and hope for humanities future was taken and killed. What you once saw as hope for the world now hangs on a Roman cross lifeless.
We never know how to handle it. Especially when it is the hope for the future. These disciples saw nothing but death. They saw no way out of their pain, anguish, sorrow, and brokenness. They felt alone, abandoned, and lost. Peter Denied him and the rest left him.
They left him in the moment of his most need.
Can you imagine what they felt? No closure or ending.
What none of them saw was that death had to happen so that resurrection could come. The death of Jesus isn't the end. Death HAD to happen.
We have to have death to have life. Life is what Jesus promises. Do you need life? Maybe it's time to put something to death on this dark Friday. Is it your sorrow, addiction, rage, selfishness, loneliness, or whatever it is you wrestle with. Maybe it's time we allow for resurrection to take place.
Friday is here. Death is here. Resurrection is just 2 days away.
What do you need to put to death?
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
I preached this past weekend in the main service.
It went well.
I really felt like God was moving in more ways than I even know. Who would have ever thought that a little punk with three years experience and no degree from Spokane would have the opportunity to preach at Rolling Hills in front of thousands? Not just that, but be looked at as legitimate.
As I was driving home I started thinking of all the people that were praising the message. It's the typical "Wow, great job, you were awesome." If I were being honest, I could have sucked it up big time and people would still say that. Still, I was thinking that no matter how many people came up to me, it would take one negative comment to shatter my whole day.
I got home and checked my email. First it was one then two, and finally three emails within an hour of being home in regards to the service. Each of them were long detailed emails about the people's life and how that message touched their lives in powerful ways. It was at that moment God spoke to my heart.
He said "Branden, even if 2500 people hated your message but those three were transformed by my Spirit, it was a success."
See, the enemy wants to make us think that we aren't good enough. He wants us to become discouraged because most of the people in our lives aren't where they should be spiritually. He wants us to feel like we are ineffective and that life is meaningless. What was impressed upon my heart was that it's not about those people. It isn't about the 99 it's about the 1. Praise God for the three that were impacted!
So if you are discouraged and the voice of Satan is tearing you down, remember, it's always about the 1!
Saturday, October 24, 2009
Can I really love Jesus but not give sacrificially?
Can I be a Christian and selfish?
Can I follow Christ if I'm not willing to give it all up?
I want to live a self-sacrificing, whole- hearted, fully alive, life with Christ, but there is a problem...
I get in the way.
Do you know what I mean? Do you ever get in the way? I want to live a radical life for Jesus but
I don't want to be stretched.
I don't want to be persecuted.
I don't want to be uncomfortable.
I pray everyday that I can become more like Jesus. I want to love fully, give freely, heal wholly, and live radically. I'm not there, but I want to be. I will continue searching him out. I will keep pursuing my God with wreck-less abandon until the day I see Jesus face to face!
Sunday, October 11, 2009
This is what I want my youth ministry to be about. Real, raw, and authentic. Isn't that what church should be?
We recently started a new series based on Saddleback's "Life Hurts God Heals". It is a program based on a step study for the hurts, habits, and hang-ups in life. I knew that it was a need but did not know what would happen. Wednesday the first step was admitting you have a need, pulling off the mask, and realizing you are powerless to control your circumstances.
This generation is broken.
They are hurting.
They need healing.
We saw the beginning of transformation. I believe that these are the moments that we need more of. We need to see lives radically changed by the Gospel. Don't we often forget the unbelievable transformation we have seen in the lives of those around us?
In the midst of all of this I have been reading stories from Sanctus Reel's website based on their song 'Forgiven'
Truly, I'm excited to see some of our stories. I am ready to see God move.
Are you ready?
Monday, August 3, 2009
This past month I have been reading the books of Matthew and Mark.
I have been convicted.
Broken, by the words of Jesus.
Jesus tells his disciples "If you do not take up your cross and follow me you are not worthy to be my disciple"
Really? Not worthy? Could that be true? Isn't Jesus supposed to be all inclusive?
I have been so convicted by this statement because of what his words mean. The word for cross is the word crux. Because of how excruciating the word for the Roman Crucifixion became a curse word.
So, to take up ones cross is really an ultimate sacrifice. Can you do this? Can you give up your very life? Are you willing to give it all up for the cause of Jesus?
We don't have the threat of being hung on a Roman cross,
but what about your wealth?
What about your future security?
What about your status?
What about your job?
We need to be asking ourselves can we sacrifice our comforts for our God?
Do you need to sell all of your possessions and move to to the back woods of Africa? Of course not. BUT we need to be willing to. We need to constantly be asking God, how we can sacrifice.
Father, I want to be willing to sacrifice any and all that you want me to. What do I need to sacrifice? Father, help me love you, serve you, and do everything you want me to.
A day in the mind of Branden
The random rantings of a crazed youth pastor