Thursday, December 27, 2007

The Age of Manhood

I've recently been pondering the question, when does a boy become a man? Three things started this thinking, which I will describe below. Feel free to answer the (redone) poll to the right.

1. I recently heard a preacher say that "Adolescence" is not a Biblical term. He sited 1 Cor 13:11 where Paul only refers to 2 stages of growth childhood and adulthood (he says man in the verse but you know what I mean there's no adolescence.) The preacher further states that we in America, or the western world, made that term up. HHhhhmmmm...

2. I was reading an article in an online Hockey magazine and the writer referred the 17-18 year old players that would be going to the World Junior Championships as...boys. He was referring to how tough the media was on them and said something like, "remember these are just boys." I thought really? Huh....

3. I was reading a review on a book, I forget which one, but the reviewer described the fictional book as a beautiful picture of passing from "adolescence" to manhood at the ripe age of 34! I'm serious. And it seemed the reviewer had no problem with this, so I commented on the website asking when he thought the age of manhood was. He replied by saying something like, "whenever someone of the male persuasion gets married and has kids or turns 30; whichever comes first." Wow...

So I pose the question to you that come to this blog (which looks like it's getting quite a bit of traffic lately ;) Go ahead and answer the poll to the right and/or comment on this post. I'd love to hear your thoughts.


Thursday, December 20, 2007

Nehemiah 3: Workers Are Few

And next to them the Tekoites repaired, but their nobles would not stoop to serve their Lord. (Neh 3:5)

Last week we finished Chapter 2, where Nehemiah had unveiled God's vision for rebuilding the wall and therefore Jerusalem. He further sealed the deal with the people by giving personal testimony of how God's hand had been with him to secure the king's favor and resources for the job.

The people responded by saying they would join him in the rebuilding. In other words, they caught the vision and were enthusiastic to join Nehemiah in the hard work ahead. This is significant given the history of failed attempts at that point to rebuild the wall and Jerusalem.

Chapter 3 is interesting because it's basically a list of names, I think someone counted about 37 of them...that could be wrong, but is probably close. Think of this as a list of volunteers or lay leaders that have taken up God's cause to rebuild. Nehemiah has given them all assignments and each of these lay leaders have also given the vision to their families and servants to take up the task of rebuilding the wall.

It was great to see that assignments were given out by a person's passion or if that person had a stake in that section of the wall. The priests were given the Sheep Gate, because traditionally that is where the sheep given for sacrifice and their portion enter. So you know they will build that portion of the wall well. Towards the end of the chapter families were given portions of the wall near their home. Likewise you can see them building well there.

This is a beautiful picture of how the Church should function. God has given a Senior Pastor and Elders a vision and the congregation embraces that and according to passion and/or giftedness fills in the needs...aka goes to work/volunteers gladly.

Sadly verse 5 is too often true. There are those who will not stoop to serve the Lord for whatever reason. Pride? Sure just like the nobles. Past hurts? Sure just like the people who are volunteering here had heard it before, "Let's rebuild!" then "Nope we have to stop."

We finished the night praying:

1. First praise the Lord for those that have taken the call and work their portion of the wall with vigor and passion. May the Lord sustain each and every one.

2. That the congregation of CalvarySLO, especially the men, would rise up and lead just as the men listed in Chapter 3 did. And that the Lord would use KingomBuilders to call and equip men towards that end.

3. The good hand of the Lord would be upon CalvarySLO to spread the good news that ultimate pleasure can only be found in God's greatness.


Thursday, December 13, 2007

WtS: Year in Review!

WOW! What an amazing inaugural year for the Worship through Service Ministry!

Over the past year the men of Calvary SLO have faithfully volunteered their time to help people in need from our community. We got our first call to help from Family Care Network asking us to round up a group of men to help one of their clients move. That day more than 5 men showed up with trucks and, and most importantly, servants hearts to move the family of 4. Other highlights include moving Heather McMillan's mom into a new home, moving the Ramirez family into a new home, helping the Brennan's paint their home, painting the interior of another FCN family, painting the new prayer room @ the Pacheco location, fixing the plumbing and installing doors for other FCNI families, and also teaching a youngster how to fish!

Also as you may have heard, we've taken on a huge commitment with the SLO county Habitat for Humanity chapter in building 4 new homes in Atascadero. We are one of 12 "apostle" churches that are giving our time, strength, construction, cooking skills, and money to the building of the houses. As mentioned in a previous post, the ground breaking ceremony was last weekend which has risen our excitement to another level. The actual building/volunteering will be starting in early '08...I'll keep you informed!

On somewhat of a tangent, have you seen the old Harrison Ford movie "Witness"? He plays a cop that goes into an Amish community to protect a young boy who has witnessed a murder. The most amazing part of the movie (and why I write about it) is when Harrison is a witness to a barn raising. Basically, all the Amish community members come together as a body to construct a house for a newly married couple. I think it is one of the most inspiring events that I can imagine. What a perfect model for what this ministry hopes to accomplish...coming together as men to meet the needs of our community all the while worshiping our creator and all the blessings that he has given us! We're even getting to literally build a house this coming year!

Finally I want to personally thank every single person who has decided to put aside the normal weekend schedule to given their time and energy into serving our community and consequently, worshiping our Lord. As a church we often times focus our thoughts of worship to the playing and singing of music. While God certainly calls us to worship through those modalities we must also remember that God intended us to worship him by serving others. In '08 I hope to serve along all of you men! God's ambition in you has blessed our community more than we can ever know!

See you in '08

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Nehemiah 2: 9-20 Let's Get Going

And I told them of the hand of my God that had been upon me for good, and also of the words that the king had spoken to me. And they said, "Let us rise up and build." So they strengthened their hands for the good work. Neh 2:18

I hope you like these synopses of the KingdomBuilders Leaders Bible Study. We go much deeper in the 1.5 hours that we have together than I can write here, but hopefully gives you the gist of what we discussed. This is actually the first time I've done an actual Bible Study. I usually do book discussions. It's been a real good learning experience for all of us!

Do you remember the old "Just Do It" campaign? I'm definitely that kinda guy and it has it's advantages and disadvantages. Yes things get started and going, but sometimes as far as the longevity factor it's just not there. So I've learned a great deal from Chapter 1 and the beginning of 2 about the wisdom of planning and praying.

In this passage, Nehemiah finishes up praying (for three days it seems) and planning (taking a recon tour of the wall).

Towards the end he finally unveils the plan to the people and gives his testimony of how the Lord's good hand has been upon him. This encourages the people because they've all lived a roller coaster ride of building the city/wall, stop building, build again, the king gives a decree to stop building. But hearing the miracles God has done through Nehemiah's life strengthens their hand and they start the work.

Praying and Planning is good, but some people get what's called paralysis by analysis and never act (or if we want to keep the P theme going they never Perform). I like the approach the Lord has given Nehemiah...all the Passion, Prayer, and Planning was all a prelude to and a focus toward Performing...actually getting started.

Praise the Lord he had a plan for our salvation and life...Jesus. Praise him still that in His timing he executed on that plan. With Christmas looming around the corner we celebrate the start of the salvation plan with the birth of a baby in a manger. I want to celebrate also by not merely being a hearer or planner, but also a doer.


Saturday, December 08, 2007

Ground Breaking Ceremony

Maybe you are like us in CSLO KingdomBuilders...wondering when we get to swing hammers and build those houses up in Atascadero! Well we are one step closer.

Today Aaron and Sara Nesper as well as my son Josh and I went up to Atascadero for the Ground Breaking Ceremony. The slide show is on the sidebar so check it out...

It was great to see how all four families were so blessed to have been chosen. It was really cool to see the Mayor of Atascadero there and representatives from various churches, businesses, and other government agencies.

I hope we, as CalvarySLO as well as the other Christian churches, shine the light of Christ not just to these four families, but to the entire community of Atascadero and beyond.


Thursday, December 06, 2007

Nehemiah 2: 1-8 The Good Hand of God

And the king granted me what I asked, for the good hand of my God was upon me. (Neh 2:8c)

The KingdomBuilders Leaders got together again last night. We looked at Neh 2:1-8 and marveled at the exchange between Nehemiah and King Artaxerxes. Let me recap:

  1. Nehemiah is sad in the kings presence and didn’t get his head chopped off
  2. The king just gave Nehemiah probably a year to a year and a half leave of absence from his job, don’t forget now the king has to find someone else…good help is hard to find
  3. The king also just changed a law he had in place for a long time and if we turn to Daniel 6:8 we see that the laws of the Medes and the Persians cannot be revoked, that’s why the satraps were so hot to get King Darius to sign the law that would trap Daniel into praying to God and then being thrown into the lion's den
  4. King Artexerxes, not a believer by any stretch of the imagination, just agreed not only to give Nehemiah safe passage to Jerusalem with a letter and later we’ll see an army escort, BUT he is going to give Nehemiah all the lumber he needs from his own royal lumber yard
All this and what does Nehemiah say? "Yes, I am the most awesome servant that God has ever had!" or "Man I am just that good of a negotiator!"

No he says, "The king granted everything I asked for because God sovereignly intervened." No other reason...nobody else gets the glory. I love this Nehemiah guy.

Have you ever watched as someone took all the credit for a great idea or a task being completed? Never once acknowledging the fact that they got the idea from someone else or could never have accomplished the task without the help of their team. In the corporate world, it happens all the time.

This gives me a glimpse of what God must feel like, when in his sovereignty he provides for his creation and they take the credit...never acknowledging that God's hand was actually in it.

I was telling someone the other day about my I went from security guard at a major corporation to Systems Analyst then went to another company and went to Project Manager and eventually IT Manager...blah blah blah. You know what I realized? I hadn't once mentioned God or the Lord Jesus. I told the story like I pulled myself up from my lame!

This passage from Nehemiah came to me and I was so convicted. I told the person, "You know this story is not true. To tell you the truth the only reason I'm standing before you with any semblance of a cool career path is because God's good hand was upon me each and every step of the way."

Lord Jesus, I want to be more like Nehemiah. When major or minor things happen in my life I want to acknowledge you in my speech and in my heart. Thank you that your good hand is ever upon me. Amen.

Monday, December 03, 2007

New (Used) Trailer

Wow, this just in! The Lord provided us a trailer. The Kochs who go to CalvarySLO heard the announcement yesterday and tripped out. I guess they tried to sell the trailer last week and had no takers. Sweet...we'll buy it.

I post this not just to update you guys, but also to say to God be the glory. This kinda thing happens and I think ho hum praise God what else do I have going today? No this is major! The Lord provided.

Just another reason he most worthy of all of our praise, adoration, and devotion. Amen?!?!