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Archive for the ‘Christ and The Church’ Category

PEOPLE

I completely forgot to post an answer to the “Where Am I?” post.

I was in the KUC on campus at MTSU.

There are a TON of people everywhere on campus and EVERYONE is different. I love it.

Since I work at a church I get to be around awesome people chasing after the heart of God all the time. Don’t get it twisted I LOVE that. They stretch me and challenge me constantly.

But there is just something I love about walking around campus (and being at my other job at Starbucks) and seeing people on the complete opposite side of the spectrum than me. I get tired of hanging out with Christians all the time.

Don’t get me wrong, though. I cherish the times I  talk with my Christians brothers and sisters about how awesome our Saviour is or just fleshing out things going on in our walks with the Lord. BUT there is just something different when I talk to my neighbors (Drew and Garrett) about football or carry permits for handguns or their party stories until 3AM while they smoke and cuss and drink BR (beer).

Most of the time we just talk about junk that doesn’t matter at all and just laugh. I LOVE IT.

I have peaked their interest in the church, and they are excited about coming to check out a place where “a guy like me can work.” I guess it’s the tattoos.

I am praying that I could be a light to these guys (and their GFs Sarah and Becca) and that their interest would be sparked and that they would long to know the God that SO loves them.

Jesus, shine on me so I can shine Your light to my neighbors. Amen.

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On August 25, 2008 I made a promise to myself to pray for a really great friend of mine everyday. His name is Carter Ambrister.

I have this card hanging up directly in front of my desk so that I can always remember to pray for him.

Carter is far from God, and my desire is for him to experience the same hope and assurance and joy and love and grace that Jesus Christ has given me.

This is my prayer:

Father, I ask that You would soften Carter’s heart and captivate with how awesome You are. Expose all of the worthless things in his life and leave him wanting more. Leave him wanting You.

“And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.” –James 5:15

Who or what are you praying for?

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I love experiencing that God IS real. That Jesus IS alive. Sometimes that happens in deep and intimate moments of worship or prayer. Or sometime it happens in a very practical or almost playful manner. Today was definitely the latter.

I was looking around for my phone this morning and it was NOWHERE to be found. I looked on the nightstand (which is where it should have been), in the bathroom, in the shower (yes, desperation), under the bed, on my desk, in my shorts I wore to work last night, in my pants I wore when I got home from work last night, and in my dirty clothes basket that my shorts I wore to work last night were in thinking that it might have fallen out of the shorts and into the basket!

All of this happened over a 2-3 hour timespan. I was about to give up and just by another phone. I was so frustrated because I knew that I had plugged it up and set it on the nightstand next to my bed. I sat down at my desk and just said aloud, “Jesus, I know You know where my phone is. Where is it?”

Nothing profound. Nothing spiritual. I just wanted to know.

I got up to go to the bathroom and I was walking past my bed after I got finished and felt a yearning to look under the bed one more time from a different angle.

THERE IT WAS.

I then responded aloud in typical Scott Mills vernacular, “Wow. You would, Lord!”

I’m smiling even as I type this because it was awesome. I feel connected. I feel like I am in a vibrant and real relationship. Its great to be reminded of that.

Next question I am asking: “Jesus, I know You know what my major is going to be. What is it?”

Those of you who know me are laughing.

PTL.

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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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The weather is getting rough in the Southeast United States tonight. CNN reported 23 deaths in the Tennessee and Arkansas area. The Nashville/Murfreesboro area is under a tornado watch. It started about an hour ago and so far so good (five more to go). Earlier today Memphis and Jackson got hit pretty hard. Classes at Jackson’s Union University have been canceled for two weeks due to all of the damage done. CNN said that the university was the hardest hit of all the areas the storm touched down.

So I am sitting in my living room in Murfreesboro watching TV and writing some music. My roommate is asleep so I am having to be kind of quiet. It is 1:51 a.m. I have to be at the church tomorrow at 9ish. I should be asleep. I am enthralled by this storm though and I am working towards putting the theme of storms and weather into a song that I am currently working on. Weather is a powerful thing that I do not pay attention to enough. It can determine your mood and your activities. The damage at Union University is an example of this. Hurricane Katrina is an example of this. I am sure that there are plenty of other examples of severe weather throughout history that changed people plans. I bet the people that died today did not plan on being victim to a tornado. I am sure the 9 students trapped in Union University did not plan on being stuck at school all day.

The Bible talks about a pretty large storm in the book of Genesis chapter 7:

“11 In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep were broken up, and the windows of heaven were spread. 12 And the rain was on the earth forty days and forty nights.”

Rain. Everywhere.

“19 Now the waters prevailed exceedingly on the earth, and all the high hills under the whole heaven were covered. 20 The waters prevailed fifteen cubits upward and the mountains were covered.”

1 cubit is equal to about 18 inches. So the water at this point was standing about 22.5 feet about the surface of the earth.

“21 And all flesh died that moved on the earth: birds and cattle and beasts and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth, and every man. 22 All in whose nostrils was the breath of the spirit of life, all that was on the dry land, died.”

That is a pretty tough storm. It makes the one that is happening outside my window right now seem pretty weak. I bet those people back then weren’t expecting to die by the “hand” of a flash flood. Weather has a way of changing us. I felt like the weather tonight was orchestrated by God to get my attention. To be thankful for life when life was being taken close by. To know that He is God and He is all powerful and He orchestrates all things. I believe storms are like the earth and its elements crying out to God. As if the storm was a worship leader. The lighting and thunder cracking and booming and shouting out praise. The rain symbolic of washing away sin or God showering His presence, His glory, and His mercy and grace on us. The wind blowing God’s spirit and refreshing everything it touches a fresh touch from Him.

These are just things i think about during storms. They help me gain perspective into how BIG God is.

Look at the earth as a worship leader. Look at the proof that God exists. Be encouraged and know that God is in control of everything, including You!

I will end with this:

“When the storm is raging all around me,
You are the peace that calms me troubled sea.
When the cares of this world darken my day,
You are the light that shines and shows me the way.

O the beauty of Your Majesty,
On the cross You showed Your love for me.

Beautiful Lord, awesome and mighty,
I’m captured by this love I see.
Beautiful Lord, tender and holy,
Your mercy brings me to my knees.

It’s Your mercy that has made me free, Beautiful Lord.”

-Leeland “Beautiful Lord”

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Tonight I led worship at FBCSmyrna, Tennessee like i have been doing every Wednesday since I began interning there (about 1 month). Normally the talk for the second service is done by David McCaman who is quickly becoming a very influential person and overall close friend. But tonight David passed the mic on to a 15 year old kid. I cannot even remember this guy’s name. David prefaced by saying that what’s-his-name had accepted a call to full time vocational ministry as a communicator at a summer camp a while back, and that he was going to let him teach the lesson that night. I commend the kid. There was in abundance of 300 people there. I would say that a lot of 30 something year old speakers have not spoken to that many people, especially on their first time.

Anyways, the first thing out of the kid’s mouth is “what’s up guys?” followed by a murmur from the crowd. He follows with “how ya doin’?” Murmur. I completely called it. In my mind I knew he would say that first. At this point all that I could think about was that it was about 7:30 and I had not eaten at all. I had already planned on running down the street to the McDonald’s to avoid starvation and I now knew that I wouldn’t really have to miss anything since I probably not get much out of the message from this kid.

Mistaken I was.

As I am preparing to leave I hear him saying something about an ING commercial. Many of you have probably seen this commercial. I think that I have seen it 94 times? Yea. It shows a guy about to cross the street and then a woman grabs his arm to keep him from walking into a car, and then it goes on to show various scenes of people performing what many call “random acts of kindness.” So since I have seen this commercial 94-ish times I decided to stay another minute and see what he was going to say about it. He went on to say some other things that I cannot quote simply because I was replaying the commercial in my head and inadvertently tuned him out. I caught back up with him when he read this:

“The first of all of the commandments is: You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. This is the first commandment…” -Mark 12:29-30

(P.S. Who has not heard that? In spite of that I am sure you would agree it’s important. Note the parallel structure for emphasis.)

“…And the second, like it (the 1st; v. 29-30) is this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” -Mark 12:31

So, all of that was in red. Jesus said it.

My mind begins to wonder again as I walk out of the room and towards my car. I end up back at the commercial. A detail that I noticed when I saw the commercial the first time that I believe was more important that the simple fact of people displaying those acts of kindness was the fact that at the end of every scene there was a person across the street or in a car driving by or in some other sort of position watching that event unfold. i would argue that the individual that saw that felt something at that point. Maybe a tug on his or her heart to share that same love.

POINT: LOVE CAN SPREAD LIKE WILDFIRE. As Christians we carry a message of hope and love in our hearts. Or we should. Christ in us is not bondage or hate or separation or judgment. Christ in us freedom and love and community and hope! Christ was the ultimate lover! He hung out with the sinners, the outcasts, and the lame. Jesus laid down his perfect life for us to save us from eternal separation from the God who created us. I chose not to say “to save us from Hell” there because when I think of non-Christians dying I do not think of them burning in Hell. That is not to say that I do not believe that Hell is a real place, but I believe the overall feeling of separation from the God who loves you enough that he died for you will torment you more than anything. Especially knowing that you had the opportunity to accept that free gift of love and rejected it.

So my question I spoke of in the beginning… here it is:

Why?

Christian translates to “little Christ.” Being “little Christs” WHY don’t we show the love our counterpart so easily showed? The church is the body of Christ for our time here. We are the messengers! The world looks at us and sees what Christ is supposed to look like but I bet HE would not recognize us. He would say, “I do not look like that. Where is your LOVE?”

To use the commercial one more time… Jesus’ love for us is not like the woman that grabbed the man’s arm and pulled him back onto the sidewalk to keep from getting hit by the car. It would be like the woman (Jesus) stepping in front of the man who was about to get hit so that she got hit and not him. She sacrificed her life for his. Difference? Yes.

Jesus gained nothing by dying. We gained everything from His death.

Jesus loves people with an undying love. His love lives on today because he rose from the grave. We carry Christ along with His love in our hearts. LET IT OUT!

I am making a commitment to love. To love God. To love people. To change the way I think. TO CHANGE MY HEART. So that people can see what God is supposed to look like.

Thank you what’s-his-name.

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