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Archive for May, 2008

June 11th

I will be teaching for the first time ever on June 11th. Woah daddy I am nervous. It’s weird. I will be talking about submitting to God out of James 4 in our new series “So You Think You Have Faith.” You would think singing and leading worship in front of people every week would be more nerve-wrecking than talking, but not according to all of these butterflies coming out of my mouth three weeks in advance! I gained an immediate and greater appreciation for what all communicators do every week the moment Chris Hollomon informed that I was going to be talking. Micah Huebner will be leading worship and it will be a fun night. And I get to wear one of those mics that looks like a huge pimple on your face. NICE.

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United Pursuit Band

Check out the United Pursuit Band from Knoxville, TN. A couple of my friends from Knoxville are in this band and they are awesome. If you are attending Atlanta Fest this year in Stone Mountain, GA make sure you watch their worship set. I believe they are opening for Casting Crowns? I can’t remember. They got the gig by sending a demo tape along with 300ish other bands if that tells you anything.

Their myspace:

myspace.com/unitedpursuit

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I will be leading worship in the Modern Services (9 and 10:30) at FBC Smyrna this Sunday the 18th. Micah (associate worship leader) and the student band will also be playing. I count it a great privilege to be able to lead for the whole church. Thanks to Micah and Worship Arts Department for the opportunity

Set list will be:

Beautiful One – Tim Hughes

Marvelous Light – Charlie Hall

God of the CIty – Bluetree (performed by Chris Tomlin)

Majesty – Delirious

This Sunday I will be teaching the church the song “God of the City” and I am really excited to lead and encourage the congregation to get in on what God wants to do in Smyrna, TN and to challenge them to not only be a part of that through our church but ask God how they personally be involved in what Jesus wants to do in our city. Woah I am excited. My parents and little brother will be driving over from Knoxville to be a part of the service as well. They haven’t seen me lead since I moved away so that is another reason to be excited.

I’ll post how it went Sunday afternoon.

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FBC Smyrna is currently going through the book of Ephesians in a series called E*CHURCH. The staff come up with the title while we were taking advantage of $3.99 chicken tender baskets at Toot’s one Wednesday afternoon. I specifically either Stew or David Cox saying, “E*CHURCH. Essentials for the Church” and Pat going, “E*CHURCH. Hey I like that. Yea, I like that.” I had never been around when staff had named a series and I thought it was hilarious that they decided on it at Toots.

Anyways, I LOVE this series. I LOVE the book of Ephesians. I just wanted to share a little bit about what Pat has been talking about as we have been picking the book apart verse by verse. Three weeks ago we were in Ephesians 2:11-22.

11 Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves “the circumcision” (that done in the body by the hands of men)— 12 remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ.

I see so many things as I look at this passage. I’ll go in the order of as one would read. Paul is writing to the church in Ephesus. In vv.11-13 he uses the word “uncircumcision,” a term that I also use in regards to people that do not know Jesus Christ. No. Just kidding. That would be weird. But for Paul it was culturally relevant and helped him make his point very clear. He was helping them (the church at Ephesus) to harken back to the time before Christ’s sacrifice when they were outside of the blood of Christ.

He reminds them that at that time they were “separated from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel, foreigners to the covenants of the promise, and without hope and without God in the world.” Basically, their life sucked and they had no right to anything that was God’s. That has not changed.

Ladies and Gentlemen… Galations 4:6-7

6 Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts…7 So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir.

Accept Christ receive Spirit. No Spirit no sonship. (that was free)

But Paul is quick on the draw and throws encouragement right back at them with v.13.

13But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ.

Those who were once far away. Gentiles. Uncircumcised. Us.

14 For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15 by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, 16 and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. 17 He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.

This speaks volumes. Paul just lays it out and tells the story. I love the picture of Christ destroying the barrier/breaking down the wall of hostility. I will reference that over to Matthew 27:51…

51 At that moment (when Jesus gave up his Spirit and died) the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.

The curtain in the temple separated The Holy of Holies (where God’s presence met the high priest and only the high priest once a year) and the rest of the temple. This event very beautifully demonstrates the significance of the cross to man. The absence of the curtain means the access to God’s presence (that has a very nice ring). All the time to all people. Not just once a year to the high priest.

I also love verse 16. The mission of the cross. What God was thinking. Jews and Gentiles as one. What connects me to God is what connects you to God.

v.17-Those who were far away=Gentiles
Those who were near=Jews

We all have the same Middleman! I wrote this in my journal that morning…

“God broke down the wall of hostility with Christ’s sacrifice. Believers are no longer Jew or Gentile, or African or American, or Indian or Asian.
Christ is our new nationality.”

RED, YELLOW, BLACK, WHITE AND pasty (me)

Home Stretch…

19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.

God wanted fellowship with us from the beginning. We screwed it up. He fixed it. It must be something he cares about. He restored us so that we could become members of His household. Character in HIStory,

I love the imagery Paul uses here. God’s household is built on the forefathers and the “heroes of the faith” and Jesus Christ is the cornerstone. Who better to be at the focus and the most important place? Jesus holdin’ it down.

The final result is The Church. The temple where God lives by his Spirit. Compromised of every tribe and tongue and nation. A conglomeration of culture. A melting pot of people melted down and reduced to its simplest terms: JESUS CHRIST. (How about that long-division reference?)

Last thing: I believe that God designed His Church to be multicultural. For Asians to worship beside Americans beside Africans besides Eskimos, etc. I have attempted to prove this through this bit of text. I have been praying for God to open up ways for me to be involved in discipling the Nations and for Christians overall to obtain a much larger view of God and what He wants to do in our world. I can’t wait to see the removal of white churches and black churches and whatever else churches.

Thank you FBC Smyrna for being a Jesus Church.

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