Saturday, May 10, 2008

Singles Won

Preliminary data indicates the Singles won @ Miracle Miles on all counts:
  • Fastest time: Wise and Christion came in at about 45 minutes each. Linda and I on the other hand 2 hours and change, so unless the Whitacres ran like the wind I think we lost that category
  • Most Pledges raised: See that trophy? That's was awarded to CalvarySLO Singles for Most Money Raised by a Group! So I'm guessing they won that category as well.
  • Tie breaker: even if needed, it looks like they had more sign ups unless a bunch of marrieds did walk up sign up...but like I said it looks irrelevant
I'll have the official verdict next Sunday, but it doesn't look good for the Marrieds! The only consolation is that we pretty much blew Calvary Shoreline out of the water.

It was a fun event. I'm glad we as a church could make such a big impact. Props to Nick Enns who raised over $1200 to get the Singles the trophy and some sweet gift certificates to Mo's Smokehouse.

Thanks everyone!

Friday, May 09, 2008

Nehemiah 8: Biblical R & R

And all the people went their way to eat and drink and to send portions and to make great rejoicing, because they had understood the words that were declared to them. (Neh 8:12)

It took us a couple of weeks, but we got through chapter 8. This is now my favorite chapter (have I said that before?).

In summary, after the people had built the wall (so now they felt safe) and God through Nehemiah had organized the people with giftings and callings (remember chapter 7?) they now wanted to hear the scriptures read and preached [screeching sound]. Yeah, they actually asked for a church service (and it went for about 6 hours!), pretty amazing huh?

Ezra reads the Pentateuch, first five books of the Bible from early morning until mid-day. The Levites walked around the congregation (50k people, think Dodger Stadium) to explain what was being read. The people respond with weeping and mourning, either out of respect for the written word of God or out of repentance for how far they had missed the mark God had laid out for them.

Imagine a packed baseball stadium full of people, listening to preaching and teaching, and they all fall face down on the ground and start weeping! God showed up in a big way to pierce the hearts of the people. This is an amazing miracle! I like to say it doesn't happen every God speaking? Yes. Are we always open and listening? No.

Nehemiah and Ezra both tell the people to stop weeping and mourning, but instead to celebrate the fact that God had pierced their hearts. How may I ask does Nehemiah "encourage" them to celebrate? In the ESV it translates it, "Eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to anyone who has nothing ready".

Many might be shocked that Nehemiah's response or way of celebrating is basically BBQ and Alcoholic Beverages, but I think the key is in verse 12 quoted above. It says that the people went to celebrate with food and wine, "because they had understood the words that were declared to them." In other words, they didn't go eat and drink to be gluttons or drunkards, to find pleasure in the food or wine in and of itself, they went to worship and praise God for showing up.

It's an amazing distinction. Colossions 3:17 says, "And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." That means, with a few exceptions, that whatever we are doing can be an act of worship to God. I think the main thing is the motivation. Are we doing [fill in the blank] as an act of worship to God or to the thing he created? There was quite a bit of discussion that was awesome.

We finished the chapter discussing the amazing results of MEN responding in obedience to God and leading the people in spiritual things. Verse 13 tells us that on the second day the men wanted to dig deeper into God's written word. Uh-huh another miracle. What they found out is that they should be celebrating the Feast of Booths, Sukkot, right then. So guess what? They did!

The men, the leaders of each household, lead in the collection of branches and leaves and the building of booths and the daily rituals.

This is what KingdomBuilders is all about. We want men to be ignited to follow Jesus with all of their hearts, minds, strength, and will! This is the way to a strong family, church, community, nation, and world is the men. I won't bore you with all the statistics, because we know it in our hearts and the scriptures bear witness, men are meant to lead spiritually.

This might mean taking risks for Jesus, going on an adventure with him, and definitley forming bonds of brotherhood with the other men at CalvarySLO. That's what we at KingdomBuilders are all about!