One for One Challenge 2014

Back in 2010, I put out this challenge to help us all grow, not backslide (our walk is like a down escalator, if we’re not actively walking up, we’re moving down). Since that was a while back, and we once again feel our spiritual edge dulling, I thought I’d repost it today with some updates. Here we go:

 

One for One Challenge: I Double Dog Dare You!

Last spring, Angie and I realized we were losing our spiritual edge. So we turned away from our normal means of nightly entertainment (TV or video games) and started watching online messages, or messages on GodTV (a channel on DirecTv that runs all sorts of Christian conferences, sermons, shows, etc) instead. What we found was after one month, our spiritual sword was sharpened once more and we were back to being on fire for God.Sadly, we got away from that after we moved, but thankfully, we’ve gotten back into it recently.So, here’s the challenge.Every weekday for the next month, I dare you to give up one hour of secular entertainment and replace it with one hour of “feeding yourself” with Christian messages.

For those who have no idea where to find such things, you can either tune into GodTV and record some in advance, or simply point your internet browser to one of the following links for a plethora of choices.

The Village Church: Messages From the Heart of Pastor Matt Chandler

Mars Hill: Sermons & Classes by Mark Driscoll, one of our generation’s greatest teachers

New Spring Church led by one of the funniest Pastors of all time, Perry Noble. Guaranteed to have you laughing. 
The REsurgence: Christian Leadership training from the Acts 29 Network.
LifeChurch.tv World’s Largest Online Church featuring a great teacher, Craig Groeschel

Palm Valley Church – Our original church home, led by the highly underrated Pastor Greg Rohlinger

Eagle Brook Church – our old church home featuring three wonderful teaching pastors.

Lake Hills Church – Great church in Austin, TX

North Point Church – led by Andy Stanley, another fantastic teaching Pastor.

Willow Creek – the Mother of all bible-based Churches, led by the amazing Bill Hybels.

So, starting today I DOUBLE DOG DARE YOU to jump into the One for One Challenge.

P.s. If you know of somewhere that has lots of great messages and classes online, please pass the link along.

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On a Mission – Day Eight

Headed home today with mixed emotions. Can’t wait to see Angie & Zach, but I’ll miss Ken and his family as well as Joseph, Paul and their family.

Here’s some more pictures from the trip.


Joseph & Shelly


Ryan pretending to be asleep in Church.


Sharon from S.T.E.M. and Ken D.


Everyone saying goodbye to Paul’s family.


Ken W and his wonderful family.

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On A Mission – Day Seven

Sat and talked to Ken W for a bit this morning and got some great wisdom. He explained the difference between a tithe and an offering, something many (including myself until this conversation) don’t seem to grasp. When God commands us to tithe, it’s not just our money, but our time and talents. Additionally, the tithe is the ten percent, but the offering is what goes beyond that.

Malachi 3:9-12 You are under a curse—the whole nation of you—because you are robbing me. 10 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it. 11 I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not cast their fruit,” says the Lord Almighty. 12 “Then all the nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land,” says the Lord Almighty.

He also told me his old mentor had him recite Psalms 23:6 every morning for six months until he knew it cold, and understood it fully.

Psalms 23:6 Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

I think there’s far too much in the bible I’ve read a time or three, but fail to fully grasp. The more I meditate on this one, the more I realize that.

Another point he brought up all week, but fully explained this morning was to be “Born again, again.” Too many people find God, but then decide being born again means sitting in church for an hour a week, serving for an hour or so and reading their bible every once in awhile. Where would we be if Paul had done that? Or Peter? Or Jesus himself? What a wake-up call!

Naomi and I went with Sharon and Ken this morning instead of to the job site with the rest of our team. We stopped by the other job site for a few minutes and saw all the hard work the other team had put into that house.

Then we went with Ken and Sharon to move some supplies from one of their volunteer houses into another one. Ken then gave us a quick tour of downtown Biloxi before we went back to the other job site and helped the other team finish up, clean up, pack up and head back to our job site. The other team presented a member of the homeowners family with her prayer shawl and it really seemed to warm his heart.

Back at our job site, we presented the shawls to Sheila and Tiffany, both of whom were very moved. I was encouraged to hear Tiffany say that she had prayed God would send some help and we were the answer to that prayer. Not much compares to being used by God to answer the prayers of another.

We went back for lunch, then out on a tour of Biloxi. Ken took us to meet a man named Mike who pulled 21 people out of the flood, saving their lives. The wildest part of his story was a Virgin Mary statue that landed on his porch during the flood. Everything on his porch and in his downstairs was sucked out when the waters receded, but during that time the Virgin Mary statue landed on his porch. Five years later, he still has no idea where the statue came from, and it’s still on his porch.

We drove through several neighborhoods where 90% of the homes were gone, leaving nothing but empty concrete slabs. It was eerie, to say the least.

Later on we stopped by the beach and helped pull a guy in a Dodge out of the sand. Too much horsepower and bad tires don’t work well in the sand.

We headed back to camp for dinner, then a fellow named Doug DeSilvey came to speak to us. Doug lost his wife, daughter and in-laws to the storm and was the one to find their bodies. His faith in God was all that kept him going, which is incredibly inspiring. I can’t even imagine going through what Doug endured. God bless him.

Well, the week is basically over now and we’re heading north first thing tomorrow morning. Can’t wait to get home to kiss my beautiful wife and hold my awesome son.

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On A Mission – Day Six

“Slept in” till 5am today. Had a nice breakfast and headed back to Paul’s house. I finished the kitchen cabinets and then Peter taught me how to install door frame moldings, while the ladies installed door stops and finished the painting.

It’s amazing to see how a group of women who admitted no knowledge of carpentry just a few days ago were now installing trim and such like they were all pros. Just shows what the Holy Spirit can do when we let Him.

Ryan went with the other work crew to the other job site today. His presence was missed on our team and the light he shone in our group was noticeably absent. Funny how you can grow accustomed to someone so quickly. I wish he was with us, but I’m sure he’s doing good things at the other site.

At breakfast, Peter, Ken D and I talked about how the WWII generation had so much to share with the younger generations and as they moved on to Heaven a lot of it was getting lost. That’s such a shame. At the job site, Joseph shared the same sentiment with Peter and I, without knowing we’d just talked about it, which reinforces the way God wired men: to learn from and teach one another. It’s good to have this opportunity to learn from Joseph and Peter. Thank you, Father.

Headed back to the camp after work and Ken W was cooking some BBQ chicken, which smelled yummy. It turned out to taste just as good as it smelled; best meal we’d had yet.

After dinner we had some good fellowship and devotional time. Tom & Deb V had a neat devotional that began with a little saying:

In Happy Moments, Praise God (Psalms 9:12)
In Difficult Moments, Seek God (Matthew 7:8)
In Quiet Moments, Worship God (Psalms 95:6-7)
In Painful Moments, Trust God (John 14:1-4)
Every Moment, Thank God (Psalms 136)

It’s been a great experience to learn from so many Christians. I know some on this team allows the evil one to trick them into thinking they don’t have much to share from time to time, but that’s anything but true. Each one of these people has a heart for God that’s inspiring and God has gifted each of them uniquely to do His work, which they’re all doing each day. That portion of the experience alone has made the trip worth it. I just wish there was a way to fully convey everything I’m feeling and learning to Angie.

God is good, all the time. I don’t think I fully grasped what that means until this week. Life may not always go my way, but it does always go God’s way. I think a lot of the times when I don’t think it goes my way, it’s simply that my priorities don’t align with God’s, which is my issue, not His. A lot of the things I thought were important before coming down here don’t seem so anymore. Conversely, I already knew how blessed I was to have a wonderful wife and son, but I appreciate them even more now. Thank you, Father, for blessing me far beyond anything a broken soul like me ever deserved.

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On A Mission – Day Five

Ignition

Woke up early again today to read my bible and the What In The World… book. We’re heading out earlier today as we have a short work day so we can go to church tonight.

I prayed that God would get me past the frustrations of the previous days and while He put many opportunities for frustration in my path, He also empowered me to get past them with patience and love. Peter sent me into the kitchen to install cabinet doors, knobs and handles. He taught me how to make a template for drilling the holes properly and before long I had something tangible to look at and realize I was finally making a physical impact for this family. The rest of the crew did some awesome work, as usual, and we headed back to the camp around 3pm.

After speaking with Ken Wetzell last night I really felt led to get a Christian mentor. I spoke with a few of the other men in the group about this and they all agreed that it’s a good idea. Now to find one. Tom Voight offered to let me join his men’s group, which I just might do, but I think I need something more one on one.

After an early dinner we headed down to Victory Temple to experience their worship and listen to a special service prepared for us by the Bishop Benny Holland. Many years ago, Bishop Holland was in a horrible car accident and left for dead. The EMT’s declared him dead on the scene, but resuscitated him after noting he was an organ donor. At the hospital his mother was told he’d be a vegetable if he lived through the night. She told the DR. to do his job and she would do hers. She went into the waiting room and prayed fervently that God would restore him and guess what, God did.

It took several years, several surgeries and millions of prayers, but Bishop Holland, now crippled for life and missing 1/3 of his brain, went before us and delivered one of the best services I’ve ever seen. He assured us that if a man like him could still do great things for God, then as long as we’re still breathing, we can too.

After Bishop Holland’s accident, the Victory Temple body died as well. Nevertheless, God brought it back, too. Now both are returning to the life they once had through the power of the Holy Spirit. God is good. All the time.

The love for God the people in the Victory Temple have is inspiring and something that should infect every church, everywhere. Bishop Holland is crippled for life, missing 1/3 of his brain, yet he shines God’s love like no other. The least among us is the first.

Really illustrates how we tend to focus too much on material shortfalls and not enough on spiritual blessings. God loves us, not our stuff. God wants us, not our stuff. God cares about our souls, not our jobs, cars, houses.

We headed back to camp, completely on fire for God. It seems the inferno in the hearts of this team ignited tonight and hopefully that fire will never burn out.

Carl told me tonight after devotional time he thinks I’m a really gifted prayer warrior and that I should join EBC’s prayer team. Since I’m already serving in K-Rock, teaching in K-Rock, on the Yes Team and leading a small group, I think I’ll have to pray on that. 😉

Tidbits of wisdom I’ve picked up since coming here:

– If you’re doing something that isn’t worth praising God for, you shouldn’t be doing it. No one praises God for vices or addictions.

– Never focus on what the evil one does, instead focus on what God has done and is doing, every moment of every day.

– Every sunrise is God saying good morning by shining glorious light into your day.

– John 1:5 The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.

– Psalms 23:6 Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

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On A Mission – Day Four

Servant of the Day

Woke up early again today to read my bible and “What In the World…” Ryan, Stefani and I were on Servant of the Day duty, so we helped prepare breakfast (although Sharon did most of the work) then we cleared the tables and did the dishes.

We arrived at the job site and immediately found out that Joseph wanted us to remove the window sills I’d installed yesterday, which started me off in the hole. Ryan stepped up and fixed them per Joseph’s direction. I was feeling very worthless when Peter pulled me over and had me work with him for a bit. He taught me some neat things, which lifted my spirits and made me feel like I was finally contributing something. I’d really wanted to do a lot for this family and so far I’d felt like I’d done nothing.

Thanks to Peter’s intercession, that was the last time I’d feel that way this week.

The ladies did a lot of painting and really overachieved, as did Ryan, which was great to see. No one complained about the heat & humidity, and everyone worked diligently, as if they were working on their own house. They really were “loving their neighbors as themselves” and it was awesome to witness.

We headed back to Biloxi Christian for dinner and devotional time. Ryan, Stefani and I, as part of our Servant of the Day duties had to share a devotional with everyone.

My Devotional

Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Hope. Joy. Peace.

God brought us here to answer prayers these people had sent heavenward. They were afflicted not only by a natural disaster, but by evil men who prayed on them after the fact. Men who would steal their hope, their joy, their peace. They have so little left, yet they still loved, laughed and praised God. The evil one can steal their homes, their livelihoods and their physical security, but it’s obvious he hasn’t stolen their trust in the Father.

If my family was in a similar predicament I pray that we’d hold on to our hope in Christ as these people have. When we lost our house in 2009, God was the rock that we stood on, hoped on and prayed on. And, while we’re standing here as a group, far from home, we all have the hope, joy and peace of the Holy Spirit. We laugh joyfully as we do God’s work, we have peace while trusting in God and He gives us hope that all things will work for His glory. God is good, all the time.

Amen.

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On A Mission – Day Three

Woke up at 4am today and headed into the dining hall to read my bible and “What In The World Is Going On?” by Dr. David Jeremiah. Feeling somewhat lonely without Angie & Zach around, even though I’m surrounded by good people. Had a good breakfast of scrambled eggs & sausage, then a good prayer time that set a nice tone for the day.

I was assigned to Peter’s work crew, along with Ryan, Stefani, Shelley, Deb and Naomi. We headed over to Paul’s house, where his grandfather, Joseph filled us in on what he wanted us to achieve this week. Joseph was a career ship builder, a WWII veteran and one of those guys that made America great in the middle of the 20th century. It’s too bad this country is so lacking in people like Joseph these days.

Ryan and I were charged with fixing part of the roof line, where water had damaged the joists. Ryan ended up doing most of the work and had the plan to fix the roof, so I spent a lot of time standing around feeling useless. It was hot, muggy and very uncomfortable. I missed a lot of Joseph’s walk-thru information and felt like I was a step behind the overall plan all morning, which led to some frustration on my part. This opened the door for the evil one to start planting doubts and by lunch time I was wishing I hadn’t come on the trip. I finally decided to stop being down and just trust in God and at the very moment I made that decision, a cool breeze blew over the property and cooled me off a bit. That sent shivers down my spine, like God just blew some cool air in to show me He was there.

After lunch I was able to put some window sills into the girls bedrooms, but wasn’t sure about them since we didn’t have enough wood to make them exactly like the sills in the front room. But, I’d finally accomplished something, which was enough for me to hold onto and trust that God had me here for a reason.

The evil one kept trying to drag me under though. As the day went on I missed Angie and Zach more and more and really just wanted the week to be over. Honestly, if I could have snapped my fingers and been home, I probably would have done just that.

During our devotional time after dinner I felt like I was the only one to speak negatively about the day, which added even more to my second-guessing. I didn’t want to drag the group down, but felt like I was. However, God is good, all the time. It’s His will for me to be here, so I’m going to do my best to do my best for Him. Tomorrow is a new day and no one ever said Monday’s were great. 😉

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